Right to Work Now – Return our Constitutional Right to Freedom of Association

By: Dave Taylor, Executive Director, PMA

The Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, and on behalf of Pennsylvania’s manufacturing employers, emphatically supports voluntary union membership and an end to coercive payments to unions in our commonwealth.

Because of the ongoing stalemate in Washington DC, I see little chance in the coming years to improve America’s economic competitiveness with the rest of the world, which makes it even more vital for Pennsylvania to improve our performance relative to other states.

The enactment of Right to Work in Indiana has brought in astonishing new private sector investment: $1.6 billion in just the first six months. Michigan swiftly followed suit, bringing tremendous pressure on Ohio to keep up with its neighbors in the race for investment, jobs, and growth.  On behalf of Pennsylvania’s manufacturing employers, I want to commend the sponsors and co-sponsors for their leadership as we try to keep up with our competitors in the industrial Midwest.  These legislators understand there is no good reason to wait for Ohio to move ahead of us, which is why Pennsylvania must act now.

Involuntary unionism has a corrupting effect on our economy and our public discourse, as coerced dues money funds reactionary politics.  If unions had to earn members the same way businesses earn customers, Pennsylvania would have more jobs, more opportunity, and more prosperity.  We would have more dynamism in our economy and less hostility in our politics.

Voluntary unionism in Pennsylvania would restore essential freedoms of association and conscience to individual workers, while also making Pennsylvania’s workplaces more responsive to market changes and customer demands, thereby making Pennsylvania’s employers more competitive in our national economy.

We have seen what voluntary union membership has brought to other states and for the public good, both economic and political, Pennsylvania should join the ranks of those states where coercive unionism is replaced with free association and voluntary membership and financial support.  In every other aspect of our lives, we get to choose what groups we support with our time and our dollars.  In every other aspect of our economy, we get to choose who we do business with and on what terms.  We must repeal special government carve-outs that force citizens to join a particular union or pay that union money as a condition of holding a job.  Pennsylvania has waited too long already. The time has come to uproot the unfair, coercive, destructive special-interest favoritism in state law that is costing us the jobs, opportunity, and prosperity that our people deserve.