Within Blair County there are living and working, a large number of union laborers of various trades and specialties to include fire fighters, police officers, communications technicians, teachers, iron workers, carpenters, nurses, food service workers, electricians and corrections officers.
These workers are employed by the largest employers in the county, such as UPMC Altoona, the City of Altoona, Norfolk Southern, Verizon, AASD, HASD, Penelec and the commonwealth.
If you don't have someone in your immediate family who is a union worker, I guarantee there's someone on your block who is. Why then do our local elected officials such as Senator John Eichelberger and Representatives Jerry Stern and John McGinnis choose to support legislation and positions against workers' rights?
They use trendy phrases like "reform" and "right to work."
The reality is these terms translate into the destruction of workers' rights and make life harder on the middle class.
Right now our local elected officials are sponsoring House Bill 1507 and Senate Bill 1034 which would make illegal the payroll and PAC deductions voluntarily chosen by workers. It is ironically titled Paycheck Protection Bill.
They feel we are somehow doing something wrong by joining together to make our collective voice heard.
Rich anti-labor individuals/ corporations joined to form the Commonwealth Fund. It fights against your rights to collectively bargain and have a voice in Harrisburg. Their out-of-state corporate interests of greed and destruction of unions are what they represent.
They are using their money and our local elected officials like McGinnis, Stern and Eichelberger to push their anti-labor agenda in Pennsylvania - just like they did in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio. This legislation will directly and indirectly silence your voice in Harrisburg while those fighting against you receive your tax dollars directly.
Brothers and sisters of labor, friends and neighbors who work for a living and all those retirees who broke their backs for years, send a clear message to our elected members of the General Assembly in Harrisburg.
Tell the men and women who enjoy nice cushy jobs with nice pensions themselves to stop the attacks. Tell those who you elected and who are supposed to represent our wishes and desires that our rights to bargain and band together are not for sale to out-of-state corporations.
Tell them our voice shall not be silenced. Write, call, and e-mail them and tell them to vote no on HB1507 and SB1034 and any other "right to work" or "reform" legislation when it comes to our bargaining rights.
President, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 299