Cephas, Policy Committee discuss court ruling on unions, impact on women

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 7 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., and the Women and Girls of Color Subcommittee of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing at the District 1199 Union Hall on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and its impact on women.

Cephas was joined by Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and state legislators from across the commonwealth. The committee discussed how the Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31 decision threatens worker rights and all working families, particularly women of color.  

Cephas said labor unions have helped women of all backgrounds close gaps in pay and career advancement. Letting government workers benefit from union representation without paying union fees would make many institutions across the country smaller and poorer in the next few years.

“My mother raised four young girls on her own and struggled with her wage, leave and her rights. She couldn’t fight the battles on her own, but her union was there for her,” Cephas said. “Unions lifted my mother and other women out of poverty. They were a vehicle for women of color to gain access to the middle class. It is our duty to continue the fight against powerful corporate special interests.”

Sturla added, “The U.S. Supreme Court ruling dealt a blow to unions, but that will not stop the effort of helping working people in Pennsylvania obtain health care benefits, safe working conditions and meaningful compensation for their work. Thanks to Representative Cephas for being a leader on this issue and moving the conversation forward.”

The committee heard testimony from Amal Bass, staff attorney, Women’s Law Project; Chris Woods, executive vice president, District 1199C; Bonnee Breese Bentum, board member, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; Lynn Baylor, member, AFSCME District Council 47; and other union workers.

Testimony, photos and video from today’s hearing will be available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.

The meeting was one in a series being held across the state on the House Democrats’ Plan4PA, which includes putting people first, good jobs, quality schools and fair taxes. Those interested can visit www.plan4pa.com for additional information about the Plan4PA.