State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Scanning the commonwealth for a right-to-work push

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Dec 15, 2012 10:01 AM

At least one business interest group says Pennsylvania could be right on Michigan’s heels as the next state to pass right-to-work legislation. Others aren’t so sure.

Such a move would bar businesses from requiring workers to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Kevin Shivers, with the National Federation of Independent Business, said Pennsylvania’s economy stands to gain if it passes such a measure.

“I know there are a number of businesses in Pennsylvania that are looking at Indiana, Michigan now and Wisconsin and saying, ‘Boy, look at the direction of those states. We want to locate there,’” Shivers said.

But recently, Gov. Corbett has said the state lacks the “will” to pass right-to-work legislation.

Frank Sirianni, head of the Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council, said the push is coming from big business groups, not individual workers.

“The general public I don’t think in any way is walking around saying, ‘Gee, I wish we were a right to work state,’” said Sirianni.

Independent fact checkers have noted lower unemployment rates in right-to-work states, but opponents of right-to-work say the law also brings down wages.

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