February 28, 2011

PARA Opposes so-called “Right to work FOR LESS” Proposals

PARA President Jean Friday released the following statement on “Right to Work FOR LESS” proposals in Pennsylvania:

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans opposes the package of bills that would make Pennsylvania a so-called “Right to Work” state.  These bills – HB 50, HB 51, HB 52 and HB 53 – are all designed to undermine collective bargaining units in Pennsylvania.  They would have a decidedly negative effect on the middle class in Pennsylvania, and therefore on our economy. 

Some may wonder why a retiree organization would be concerned by legislation that specifically targets the workplace.  It is true that the Alliance for Retired Americans tends to focus on issues that directly impact seniors’ quality of life.  However, most of the Alliance’s members are also members of the generation that fought to organize our workplaces.  We remember the difficult battles that brought us and our families out of poverty and into the middle class.  We also remember that when workers in a town’s major employer became unionized, their higher wages and better benefits helped everyone in town: from the owners of local businesses who benefited from customers with more disposable income, to the workers at companies who raised their wages to keep up.  The kind of anti-union legislation being proposed will offend many seniors in Pennsylvania, Democrats and Republicans alike, because we remember what it was like before and we don’t want to go back!

Seniors are also worried about our sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, neighbors and grandchildren; who are still in the work force.  That is why seniors all over Pennsylvania, both Alliance members and the senior population at-large, will stand up and oppose legislators that vote to cause workers’ wages, benefits and working conditions to suffer by weakening their collective bargaining power.  It would be a serious miscalculation to think that seniors only vote on issues that affect their own benefits.  We care deeply about our families and our communities, and we won’t support politicians who vote to harm either one.  Make no mistake, Pennsylvania’s seniors will not stand by and watch our hard-earned rights weakened for our children and grandchildren.  Pennsylvania must not become a so-called “Right to Work” (for less) state.

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