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Our Wisconsin Moment
The War Comes To Pennsylvania
- PA House Bill 1507
"An Act amending the act of July 23, 1970 (P.L.563, No.195), known as the Public Employe Relations Act, defining "political contributions"; further providing for maintenance of membership; providing for membership dues. . . "
In 2011, I gathered with fellow labor sympathizers at the State Capitol to show my support for the public sector workers of Wisconsin in their struggle against that state's Koch Brother's backed governor. While Gov Walker prevailed, and with help of the Koch's money survived a recall.
The actions of the workers of Wisconsin may have helped to inspire the Occupy movement and help to re-energize labor. The recent protests against McDonalds and the Wal-Mart walkouts may may have been signs that organized labor is borrowing tactics from Occupy.
But there have been defeats as well; Michigan and Indiana are two states that despite strong labor heritages, passed "Right-To-Work" laws that make union membership optional.
The goal of this legislation is simple enough. Reduce the power of influence of labor, in a post Citizens United world, labor is still the only organization that may be able to match the power of corporations and their CEOs.
Foiling The Corporate Takeover
Pennsylvania was one example of a state that was caught up in the "Tea Party" take over of 2010. Despite going for Obama in 2008, the GOP managed to take the Governorship and gain a majority in both chambers. They quickly moved to pay back their contributors; passing a "Castle Doctrine" law, and giving tax breaks to hydraulic frackers.
They also made efforts to advance the privatization agenda that is at the core of the "%1" mentality. Plans to privatize the State's Lottery and Liquor Stores were advanced as well as a school voucher plan. Both of these were stifled by the efforts of organized labor.
The business interests that funded Governor Corbett and his allies likely aren't happy. Labor must be punished. So a "paycheck protection" act has been proposed. Labor is not going to take this lying down, and on January 28th, a press conference/rally will be held at the State Capitol.
Occupy The Capitol
Will the workers of Pennsylvania need to resort to the same tactics that their brothers and sisters in Wisconsin did. Could we see Senators or Representatives flee to New York or Maryland to deny a quorum. Could we see people occupying the rotunda of the Capitol?
Or could it be a simple matter of taking advantage of this being an election year. Get Representatives and Senators on the record on "Right to Work" and remind them that labor votes, and their jobs aren't a right, but a privilege.