Representative Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, was joined by House and Senate colleagues and union officials at a Capitol news conference to promote her and Representative Tom Mehaffie’s Workplace Freedom Act (H.B. 2606). This legislation attempts to stem the assault on working people by strengthening the opportunity for them to form unions and stick together. It does this by making the decision to form a union easier by streamlining the election process. That is, instead of requiring a lengthy two-tiered election process, this bill would allow a simple card check where expressing majority support would be sufficient. This legislation also requires that new employees have access to certified unions in order for the latter to explain the benefits of union membership.
“By making it easier for workers to join a union,” Madden said, “we will increase their bargaining power, increase wages, strengthen benefits, and level the playing field between every day Pennsylvanians and wealthy special interests.”
Among the supporters of and speakers for this Workplace Freedom Act was President Rick Bloomingdale. He noted the importance of the legislation and the bipartisan support it has garnered. He talked about the benefits of unionization, remarking that, since the 1700s “unions have moved the ball forward for American workers.” He expressed his disagreement with claims that unions are no longer necessary, denouncing them as “baloney.” Bloomingdale remarked that employers are intent on finding a trained workforce and said Pennsylvania is growing because it has trained workers and not because it is going in the direction of becoming a “right-to-work” state.
As is the case with the anti-worker bills reported by the House Labor & Industry Committee, with only eight session days remaining, it is highly unlikely that the Madden/Mehaffie legislation will become law.