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Teamsters Take Stand for Pennsylvania Workers

Union Rallies Against Right to Work, Paycheck Deception

Teamsters from across Pennsylvania came to Harrisburg in June to let lawmakers know that right-to-work and paycheck deception measures currently being considered by the Legislature are wrong for workers and will lead to less money in their pockets and less tax revenue in state coffers.

The more than 1,000 Teamsters were joined by hundreds of other union members who called upon elected officials not to turn their backs on their constituents. Right to work is a ruse propagated corporate elites only interested in crushing the power of unions.

“It is very important for me to be here today for myself, for my brothers and sisters,” said Jenna Smith, who works for Local 429 in Wyomissing, Pa. “Without my union benefits and the protection of my union, and what they fight for me, I don’t know where I’d be right now. I want my voice heard at the Capitol today because right to work is wrong!”

Bill Hamilton, President of the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters and an International Vice President, said legislators need to become wise to what big business is trying to implement in the state.

“It’s no secret that when right to work is implemented, wages and benefits drop,” Hamilton said.

A bipartisan collection of elected officials also shared with attendees why these anti-union bills will hurt Pennsylvanians. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said it is not the government’s job to intervene in the relationship between workers and employers.

“Every worker in Pennsylvania right now has the right in his or her estimation to organize, to join a union, to form a union if a majority of their fellow workers feel that their workplace is not fair, if they feel their workplace is not safe,” Wolf said. “What could be fairer, what could be better for the working people of Pennsylvania than to give them and hold on to that fundamental right? That is what you are talking about today. It is that important. It is not about a special interest, it is not about a narrow group of people who benefit from this.”

State Rep. John Taylor, a Philadelphia Republican and former Teamster, said lawmakers across the political spectrum need to better understand what is at stake with these measures.

“The main issue is the people they represent are going to be hurt by this,” he said. “Just because a district is rural doesn’t mean it isn’t unionized; just because it has a Republican member doesn’t mean that many, many members of the Teamsters Union and other unions are not Republicans. To break up the collective bargaining arrangement just doesn’t make sense.”

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