Chamber Minute

July 2018

Hi, I’m Gene Barr, president of the Pennsylvania Chamber. 

Welcome to this month’s Pennsylvania Chamber Minute.

The scales of justice appeared to be more balanced in recent weeks with the U.S. Supreme Court’s protection of workers’ first amendment rights in its long-awaited decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case.  The 5-4 ruling struck down the practice of public sector unions forcibly collecting fees from the paychecks of non-union members – a practice that for more than 40 years had unfairly tilted these scales in favor of organized labor.  After the decision was announced, we applauded the Court for their defense of worker freedoms in the Janus case.  The Chamber believes that workers should have the right to refrain from financially supporting a union if their views run contrary to the unions’ views.  Also, unions should have to work to attract and retain their membership the same way that the Pennsylvania Chamber and multiple other associations throughout the state attract ours.

Despite this positive step forward, some state lawmakers began working to undermine the Court’s ruling almost immediately after the decision was handed down, by announcing their intent to author legislation to implement “card check” in Pennsylvania.  The Chamber has battled back against this violation of worker freedoms before, as it effectively strips workers of their right to a private ballot by requiring them to check on a card – a card that, it must be stressed, is seen by both their employer and union leaders - whether or not they want to join a union.  Such an action can easily open the door to coercion, intimidation and harassment of these workers and sows division in the workplace – all to the benefit of union bosses. This behavior isn’t only unacceptable – it’s a violation of the free speech rights that workers most recently fought for in the Janus case, and our organization is committed to fighting  against it.

Thanks for spending a minute of your time with the Pennsylvania Chamber, the Statewide Voice of Business.