As 2017 came to a close, working families in Pennsylvania won an important legislative battle and dealt a blow to PA House Speaker Mike Turzai and other anti-worker politicians and provocateurs.
Before legislators left for the holidays in late December 2017, House leaders called for a vote on Senate Bill 166, a piece of legislation they and other anti-worker forces like the Commonwealth Foundation, a right-wing think tank funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, refer to as “Paycheck Protection.”
More accurately called “Paycheck Deception,” the bill would have prohibited all public employees from deducting their voluntary PAC contributions from their paychecks, in the same way employees can choose to make contributions to other nonprofits and public and private charities.
The measure failed to pass, with a bipartisan block of legislators voting against it, 102-90. Twenty-six GOP legislators joined their Democratic colleagues to strike down this farce of a bill.
More importantly, this victory shows that when we organize across the labor movement, we can bring supporters together from across the aisle to stand up against anti-worker policies and efforts.
Earlier that week, state Rep. Barry Jozwiak was prepared to offer an amendment exempting police, firefighters, and other emergency personnel from the legislation in an effort to sway the support of first responders. But at the request of the Fraternal Order of Police, State Troopers, and Pennsylvania firefighters, Jozwiak withdrew the amendment, leaving emergency responders subject to the bill’s provisions.
All Pennsylvania’s unions in the state, public, and private sectors worked together to defeat the bill — a story of true union solidarity and another step by working people to win back PA in 2018!