On Monday February 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case. The American union movement came together in a weekend of action in the days before to demonstrate our solidarity with our public-sector brothers and sisters. Nine events across Pennsylvania are part of a nationwide movement demanding an end to policies that rig the system and the economy against workers.
The Pennsylvania union movement gained national attention as union members in the southwest corner of our state made history on March 13th by electing Congressman Conor Lamb to the U.S. House of Representatives. In a special election, the then 18th Congressional district was home to a battle between the pro-union, pro-worker Lamb and the anti-union, establishment state Senator Rick Saccone. The efforts of our union brothers and sisters pushed Lamb to victory and reminded political pundits around the country of the relevance of unions and the need for economic justice.
In April, hundreds of delegates of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO’s affiliate unions came together in Pittsburgh for the 43rd Constitutional Convention. President Rick Bloomindale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder were re-elected to a third term as the officers of our State Federation. The convention delegates heard incredible speeches from labor leaders including, National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, IUPAT General President Kenneth Rigmaiden, USW President Leo Gerard and AFT-West Virginia Vice President Stacey Strawderman. The officers also hosted a panel discussion on the Future of Work. The next Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Convention will be held in Philadelphia in 2020. Mark your calendars!
On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court issued their decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. In a 5-4 ruling the court overturned 40 years of labor law precedent, effectively making public-sector workplaces around the country ‘right to work’. The union movement in Pennsylvania and around the nation moved forward undeterred. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and our affiliate unions remain committed to organizing new members and mobilizing our brothers and sisters to fight for their rights on the job. No court case will sway our movement from fighting for economic dignity.
Thousands of our brothers and sisters from across the union movement joined together in Philadelphia on August 15th to mount the largest protest of its kind against Trump’s policy of family separation for immigrant families. This protest sent the message to those in power that regardless of where they come from, labor unions will always stand in solidarity with working families and children. The central value of our movement is family.
The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO launched the Labor 2018 campaign in August to elect the pro-union endorsed candidates. For three months, our union sisters and brothers knocked on doors, made thousands of phone calls, leafletted their worksites and sent thousands of pieces of local union mail. Because of that incredible hard work and dedication from our affiliates, Pennsylvania’s workers saw a victory on November 6 with the re-election of Governor Tom Wolf, U.S. Senator Bob Casey and a slate of new Congressional representatives.