Madden, Mehaffie hold news conference to advance workers' rights bill

HARRISBURG, Sept. 25 -- State Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, was joined by House and Senate colleagues and union officials at a Capitol news conference to promote her legislation (H.B. 2606) that would allow public sector workers in Pennsylvania to form a union more easily.

Madden’s bill would allow public sector workers to form a union with a simple majority card check vote, rather than the lengthy, bureaucratic process that workers currently have to go through.

“By making it easier for workers to join a union, we will increase their bargaining power, increase wages, strengthen benefits, and level the playing field between every day Pennsylvanians and wealthy special interests,” Madden said.

Rep. Thomas Mehaffie, R-Dauphin, the bill’s prime co-sponsor said: “Pennsylvania has a rich history of labor unions, which have served to protect our workers and strengthen our economy. This legislation will help ensure those who seek to benefit from union advocacy have greater protections and the ability to fairly negotiate with management, continuing in that long tradition.”

Madden said the introduction of the Workplace Freedom legislation followed a Monday meeting of the House Labor and Industry Committee which took action on five bills that are designed to further curb workers’ rights.

“In state after state, anti-union legislatures have eroded collective bargaining rights, while at the federal level the Janus vs. AFSCME decision will erode the power of the working people,” Madden said.

Janus vs. AFSCME was a landmark labor law decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled that collecting mandatory union fees in the public sector violated the First Amendment rights of workers.

Also offering support for Madden’s legislation were state Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Phila., Service Employees International Union 32BJ Vice President Gage Morgan, SEIU 668 member Tiffany White and Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale.

Click here to view photos from today’s news conference.