Bill Would Make Pennsylvania the Next Right-to-Work State

By Eric B. Meyer

Before I get into the this new bill, let’s clear up a popular misconception: free right-to-work means that an employee can be fired at any time for any non-discriminatory reason.

No, dudes. That’s called at-will employment.

Right-to-work laws give individual employees in a unionized workplace the right not to join or financially support the union. Nearly half the states — 24, plus Guam — have passed right-to-work laws. Absent a right-to-work law, all employees in a collective bargaining unit must join the union and pay union dues.

And Pennsylvania could be next.

What the bill would do

Here is a link to Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1073, the Freedom of Employment Act. This bill, if passed, would prohibit the following conditions of employment:

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  • Membership — No person shall be required to become or remain a member of a labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment.
  • Abstention from membership — No person shall be required to abstain or refrain from membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment.
  • Dues, fees and charges — No person shall be required to pay or refrain from paying any dues, fees or charges of any kind to a labor organization or to a charity or other third-party in lieu of the payments to a labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment.

Governor says he would sigh the bill

Any violation of the law would be considered a misdemeanor of the third degree, punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or up to six months in the hoosegow, or both. Each day of a continued violation is a separate offense.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has said that he would sign right-to-work legislation if it crossed his desk.

Earlier this year, six Republican state representatives each introduced right-to-work variants, none of which gained any traction.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.

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