Pashinski, labor leaders call Open Workforce Initiative Package anti-worker, bad for Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, April 4 – Calling it part of a continued systematic assault on workers, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, joined labor leaders and fellow legislators today to call a package of bills known as the Open Workforce Initiative Package another anti-worker attempt to destroy unions and turn Pennsylvania into a “right-to-work” for less state.

“This is a reintroduction of legislation that has been circulating for several sessions by people who simply aim to destroy Pennsylvanian workers’ ability to bargain and take care of themselves and their family,” Pashinski said. “As a government, we need to be putting the rights of hard working Pennsylvanians and their families first, not changing the rules to make it harder for workers to earn a fair wage or receive adequate benefits.”

Pashinski was joined by fellow legislators, AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, along with representatives from the public, private and building trades sectors, including Tammy Geanangel, a 30-year member of IUOE Local 66; Dean Showers, president of United Steelworkers Local 6996; and Alison Ocmand, director of government relations of AFT PA.

“There’s nothing right about so-called ‘right to work.’ It’s a sham pushed by deep-pocketed special interests to keep people’s wages down and help wealthy corporations and their CEOs evade responsibility,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “These laws have nothing to do with creating new jobs or protecting your job, and passing laws designed specifically to depress pay for working people is just bad economic policy.”

According to the AFL-CIO, in states where the legislature has approved “right-to-work” laws, wages are $6,109 less per year on average, the poverty rate is 2.5 percent higher and the risk of workplace death is 49 percent more likely.

“These bills masquerade as legislation aimed at improving the lives of workers, but nothing could be further from the truth,” Pashinski said. “The goal of this anti-worker legislation is simply to make it easier for big corporations to pay their workers less, give them less benefits, overwork them and not worry about providing a safe workplace. We’ve come too far in the history of labor in our country to allow bad legislation like this to pass and I’ll continue to fight against it.”