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Pennsylvania law must stop kowtowing to Big Labor's thugs

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By Katie Packer Gage
Saturday, March 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Every state in the nation — including Pennsylvania — has passed laws making it a crime to engage in stalking. As defined, stalking is an obsessive pursuit to the point of harassment. One would think any reasonable person would favor laws that prohibit an individual or group from harassing and intimidating someone. And for the most part, it's a true statement, with one very notable exception: Big Labor bosses.

That's correct, Big Labor used its considerable influence in Pennsylvania to carve out a special exemption for union bosses and organizers from the state's anti-stalking law. It's inconceivable, yet true. The Keystone State's statute stipulates the prohibition on stalking “shall not apply to conduct by a party to a labor dispute” (PA § 2709.1). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a report titled “Sabotage, Stalking & Stealth Exemptions: Special State Laws for Labor Unions,” which describes the contemptible exemption, as well as others in California, Illinois and Nevada.

Union bosses specifically sought out this exemption for one purpose — to bully and pressure individuals in an effort to organize more workplaces and force employees into forming collective bargaining units. In fact, Pennsylvania's Labor Anti-Injunction Act ties the hands of the state judiciary in a number of ways, including inhibiting it from engaging in labor disputes with injunctions. Whether an illegal act has been threatened or committed, if it is in the name of a labor dispute, judges are unable to engage.

This special “carveout” grants union organizers the ability to disrupt the business of a local employer, trespass on their property and violate their personal property rights. In essence, it gives unions license to “obsessively pursue” individuals “to the point of harassment.” Only when labor bosses engage in acts resulting in physical damage or gross misconduct can the business owner even seek relief from the court system.

In fact, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has chosen not to intervene in labor disputes even when union organizers block deliveries, tamper with and destroy property, or follow workers home during strikes.

The laws in every state should protect the rights of average citizens. Instead, in Pennsylvania this special provision appears to consider the interests of only one constituency — union bosses.

Our liberties, including the right to live free from fear, are non-negotiable. Laws allowing union organizers to stalk Pennsylvania citizens are simply unacceptable.

Katie Packer Gage is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).

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