#WorkersWinPA: Governor Goes 0/4 On Pensions, Privatization, Lottery, and Prevailing Wage

Thanks To The Activism Of Workers Across The State, Governor’s Anti-Worker Agenda Is Derailed

This year began with the Governor promising an onslaught of anti-worker legislation designed to drive down wages, privatize public institutions, and undermine retirement security.  Many of these initiatives came closer to passing than they ever have before.

  • In March the House approved for the first time a plan to expand and privatize liquor sales, a move that would have cost thousands of families their livelihoods.
  • Only two years after the major pension reforms of Act 120, and the significant concessions made by workers to speed the recovery of SERS and PSERS, legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate that would further reduce benefits for current employees and eliminate pensions for all new teachers and State workers after 2015.
  • A package of right-to-work bills and more than a dozen bills designed to undermine prevailing wage laws were introduced in the House, and two of the prevailing wage bills made it to third consideration and were poised for a full vote in the House, something that has not happened in Pennsylvania for decades.
  • And earlier this year, our Attorney General Kathleen Kane was the only thing that stood in the way of a British company taking over the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery.

With the members of the State House now home in their districts until September 23, it is time to declare that, for now, Pennsylvania workers have won on all of these issues!

Over the past several months, and particularly in the past week, we have been encouraging all of you to write and call your legislators in the House and Senate, to urge them to vote in the interest of working families in Pennsylvania, and the response has been overwhelming.

The many thousands of e-mails and phone calls that you made to your Senators and Representatives let them know that working families in Pennsylvania were watching their votes closely, and that you were invested in these fights.  Your calls and e-mails, tweets and Facebook shares complimented the hard work of union members and allies who were in Harrisburg every day, crowding the halls of the Capitol, filling committee meetings, or rallying on the Capitol steps.  You absolutely helped to kill these attacks on workers through your activism and vocal opposition.

These battles are not over.  We expect an even harder fight in the fall to prevent these and other attacks on workers from reaching the Governor’s desk.  But if we remain, as we have been, a united Labor Movement; if we reach out to our fellow workers and encourage them to raise their voices with ours; and if we visit our Representatives and Senators in their district offices over the summer, then we can continue to hold the line on these issues that are so vital to the lives of millions of Pennsylvanians.

Thank you for all you have done this year to stand up for and defend Pennsylvania’s working families; and congratulations for all you achieved!