Pennsylvanians criticize, applaud Supreme Court union ruling
Pennsylvania politicians and interest groups reacted Wednesday to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that government workers can't be forced to pay dues to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining.
Gov. Tom Wolf:
"The Court's decision is a major step backward for working families and the middle class. For generations, unions in our country have fought for and won protections we all enjoy, including the 40-hour work week, weekends, paid time off and improved conditions."
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto:
"This anti-worker decision was completely expected, and only strengthens our resolve to come together and protect the middle-class jobs our city and country are built upon. We depend upon unionized workers to deliver core city services from police patrols to garbage collection, and pothole patching to fighting fires. They are here in our time of need, and in turn we will be there for them. I and other elected officials from across the country will do all we can to stand with our workers and fight back against the powerful forces gathering against them."
Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner:
"Today's Supreme Court decision is a huge step forward, empowering workers and putting more money in the paychecks of public employees, for them to do what they want with it, not what union bosses want. With this precedent now in place, as governor, I will be able to make the necessary reforms to ensure that more Pennsylvanians can find jobs, they can be compensated fairly for them, and we can make reforms to the public education system we need. If Tom Wolf and the public sector union bosses are really committed to protecting and empowering workers, they should celebrate this decision and the freedom it provides."
Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale:
"Businesses are not mandated to give away goods and services free of charge to whomever walks through their door. But labor unions are legally required to represent every working person in a workplace, regardless of their membership status. Every worker benefits from the terms of the union contract, and fair share fees cover the cost of that representation and negotiation. We know that union contracts lift up wages and improve conditions for all workers. The dark money that has bankrolled this case and subsequent decision will not sway us from fighting for economic dignity and the rights working people deserve."
Commonwealth Foundation President and CEO Charles Mitchell:
"Today's ruling is a huge victory for Pennsylvania's teachers, public safety officers and other public-sector workers who have long been victims of government union coercion. Our friends and neighbors in the public sector should never have been forced to fork over hundreds of dollars to support the political activity of organizations they disagree with."
Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Mt. Lebanon:
"All workers should have the right to join a union — to claim their seat at the table, to negotiate for fair wages and safe working conditions, and to ensure they're treated with basic dignity and respect. Today's Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. ASCME is the product of wealthy, powerful anti-union extremists who don't want workers to have a seat at the table and fundamentally believe they don't deserve one. For years, the forces behind this suit have spent staggering amounts of money trying to undermine workers' rights, divide working people, weaken unions and limit workers' ability to exert their strength in numbers. They may be celebrating today, but they haven't won. No Supreme Court decision can divide us. And no amount of money can defeat working people who are united, organized and determined to demand their seat at the table."
Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, email@example.com or via Twitter @wesventeicher.