With only days remaining before the General Assembly breaks for their summer recess, some legislators in Harrisburg are trying to use these final hours to pass sweeping anti-worker legislation that will drive down wages, privatize industries, and destroy retirement security. These attacks are aimed at public and private sector workers alike, and will do irreparable harm to hundreds of thousands of working families in the Commonwealth.
In recent weeks, you have been flooding your legislators with phone calls and e-mails, and thousands of union members have visited their senators and representatives at their district offices and in Harrisburg, filling the Capitol halls and committee meetings, and holding rallies for responsible education funding and for Medicaid expansion.
But we can’t afford to slow down now! In just the next 36 hours:
- We expect to see movement in the House on HB 1352 and HB 1353, and in the Senate on SB 922. These bills would eliminate pensions for newly hired teachers and State workers, and bankrupt the pension system that current employees and retirees rely on. The State estimates these bills would cost taxpayers over $33 billion. The House version of the bill also reduces future retirement benefits for current employees, a blatantly unconstitutional provision.
- We expect to see SB 100 advance to the floor in the State Senate, this is the McIlhinney plan for expanding liquor sales, which would result in the closing of the State Wine & Spirits stores, the layoff of 5,000 union workers, and which would put hundreds of locally owned beer distributors out of business, costing another 10,000 estimated jobs.
- We expect to see an attempt to pass two anti-prevailing wage laws in the State House; HB 796 would raise the threshold for projects that would be subject to prevailing wage laws by 300%; and HB 665 would redefine most road “construction” projects as road “maintenance”, so that they would be exempt from prevailing wage.
- The House Transportation Committee is still trying to get the votes needed to move an amended version of the Senate Transportation Bill, SB 1, from committee. The amendment, as it was unveiled a few days ago, would gut funding for mass transit and severely reduce funding for road and bridge construction and repair. There is also an effort to include provisions that would tie transportation funding to the privatization of mass transit and to the undermining of our State’s prevailing wage laws.
Those are just the moves we expect to see by the end of the day tomorrow. There is still time for the General Assembly to send all of these bills to the Governor’s desk by Sunday, along with a budget that fails to make necessary investments in Pennsylvania.
We need you to keep telling your legislators that you OPPOSE these attacks on workers, and we need you to help spread the word to your co-workers, family, and friends. Please encourage them to take action as well, whether they are union members or not. These issues affect us ALL!