It is with dismay that I read the article in Wednesday's Times Observer regarding Rep. Kathy Rapp's intention to co-sponsor a bill supporting passage of a "Right to Work" law in Pennsylvania. This legislation is nothing more than attempt by politicians to weaken a union's negotiating ability, while circumventing the controversy that follows the barring of a union's collective bargaining rights. While I am not a member of Ms. Rapp's political party, I have voted for her over the past several election cycles, as I feel she is a strong advocate for Warren County, however, I believe that she is off the mark on this issue.
In Pennsylvania, as the article stated, one is not required to join a union as a condition of employment. In some unions in this state, a person is required to pay "Fair Share", a deduction taken at a lesser percentage than full union dues and forwarded to the union as compensation for the union's negotiation of the wage and benefits package that all employees receive, regardless of union affiliation or lack thereof. If enacted, the law will only serve to induce people to opt out of any fiscal obligation to a negotiating entity while claiming the same benefits that dues paying (and Fair Share) members have sacrificed for, thereby rendering the ability of a union to represent employees greatly diminished.
Representative Rapp should need no reminder that a substantial number of her Warren County constituents are union members, and I imagine that the rest of her district has a strong and varied membership as well. AFSCME, SEIU, IBEW, PSCOA, IAFF, police and teachers unions, and many others represent and support middle class families in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Rep. Rapp claims the bill would release the "stranglehold" that union labor has on the commonwealth, but the "Right to Work" law is nothing more or less than a political Trojan Horse meant to further drain all they can from what's left of the already embattled middle class.
Robert S. Stanton