When America’s founders gathered in Philadelphia in 1776, they pledged "to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them to another" and to set the stage for a new nation — a nation declaring freedom and independence to be the hallmarks of legitimate government.
Now, more than two centuries later as we celebrate the July 4 holiday with family gatherings, barbecues and fireworks, let us also note that it took 13 years and revolutionary battles to establish our constitutional government to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." Without eternal vigilance, that pledge could be lost in our lifetimes.
Pennsylvania has become just such a battleground. In our eagerness to bring tourists and visitors to the Commonwealth with our motto, "Virtue, Liberty and Independence," we are simultaneously ignoring the thousands of Pennsylvanians who are being denied their individual freedom to get or keep a job without being forced to pay fees or dues to a labor union. In both the public and private sectors, the message is "Pay the union or you don’t work here."
The truth is, by monopolizing the work force in the public sector — state, education, and local governments — union officials have gained control of our public policy decisions and laws to further their own private goals which may or may not be those of the individual being charged the union’s fee as a condition of employment. Nor are the union officials’ goals primarily controlled by or do they even carry the "consent of the governed." Ask any forced fee payer if he/she would support the lavish lifestyles of the union officials if they had a choice. They’ll tell you what they tell me: No!
In the private sector, union officials seek to control hiring and working conditions for their own ends, with the welfare of the individual worker or of the company’s management team rarely given even secondary consideration. Such is the situation in states like ours – where there is no Right to Work law for any segment of the employed population.
Right at this moment, the unimaginable threat of "card check" looms over every employee and every business.
America’s reverence for liberty is the gift of many. Any school child can click off a list of historical and current governmental, artistic, military, educational, and certainly home town community heroes who have stood fast for their own or another’s individual freedom. Our nation’s history is full of the legal, constitutional, and personal battles that continue to be waged, won, and lost.
The simple truth about Pennsylvania’s forced union dues laws, in effect for more than a decade now, is that they are anti-freedom, unfair, immoral, and contrary to all that we profess to celebrate with Independence Day.
Noted economist Walter Williams states that union officials taking money from nonunion employee paychecks without their permission and using it as their own without explanation is "illegal theft," an immoral privilege of one private party over another. Such a practice allowed today is nothing less than a form of slavery.
Pennsylvania’s legacy of freedom, provided by the signers of our nation’s founding documents in Philadelphia, is one we can and do point to with pride. Now, more than ever we must pledge to be vigilant in their defense. We also correct past mistakes by returning individual freedom to those who have been denied it. Failure to do that consigns our state to a substandard status. Our citizens do deserve the restoration of individual liberty, unequivocally. We are vigilant in pursuit of that goal, certain that eliminating failed policies will provide genuine opportunity for Pennsylvania’s future.
Pennsylvanians for Right to Work, Inc., is a non-profit citizens organization, which supports the advancement of individual liberty and jobs and opposes coercive unionism in all forms. To schedule an interview, debate, or radio program with Mrs. Staub, contact Jada Baker, Vice President – 717-233-1227 or [email protected].