For Immediate Release
Contact: Cindy Hamill – (856) 607-4208
New Poll: 81 Percent of Pennsylvanians Support Worker Freedom
This is National Employee Freedom Week, Educating Union Employees about their Rights
August 11, 2014, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Pennsylvania public school teachers Heather Lister (a Democrat) and Joe Connolly (a conservative) say they should have the right to keep their jobs without being forced to support a union. It turns out, most Pennsylvanians agree: 81 percent support allowing employees to leave their union without penalty, according to a new poll released today by Commonwealth Foundation as part of National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW).
NEFW, which commissioned the poll, is a grassroots campaign of 68 organizations in 40 states dedicated to helping union employees learn about their rights.
"As a former high school history teacher, I can vouch for the fact that teachers’ diverse views are not fairly represented by the state and national unions they’re forced to financially support because they teach in a state that grants unions special legal and financial privileges," commented Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. "Today’s poll results show that the vast majority of Pennsylvanians think it’s wrong to penalize people simply because they want to earn a living without being forced to support a private organization they disagree with."
Dauphin County teacher Heather Lister wonders why she—and thousands of other teachers across the state—is not allowed to make her own decision about paying a union. Lister says:
"I’m a professional and an American citizen. I’m trusted with educating children every day, yet I can’t decide whether to support an organization or not? I should have the ability to evaluate my options and make a choice. A real choice."
Joe Connolly, who teaches in Adams County, agrees with Lister and asks, "What if the baseline assumption was that public school employees were capable of making an informed choice on their own?"
But because Pennsylvania is a forced-union state, Lister and Connolly must pay a "fair share" fee to a teachers’ union even if they opt out of full union membership—effectively supporting an organization they feels does not represent them.
Today’s poll shows that the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians think these teachers should be able to leave their union without being punished for it.
The NEFW coalition also released a poll showing 82.9 percent of Americans nationwide support the right-to-work principle. Currently 24 states have passed laws making unionism voluntary, which allows workers to leave their union without have to pay fees to an organization they choose not to associate with.
NEFW, which runs from August 10 to 16, is a coalition conducting widespread outreach to inform union employees about their rights to opt-out of union membership and instructions and support on how to do so.
Unions often do as little as is required by law to inform their employees that they have the right to opt out. But as nationwide NEFW polling illustrates, 28.7 percent of those in union households want to leave. Therefore, educational efforts like NEFW are necessary to inform and educate union members about their workplace rights and empower them to make the decision about union membership that’s best for them.
The Pennsylvania poll, with a sample size of 500 state residents, asked this question: "Should employees have the right to decide, without force or penalty, whether to join or leave a labor union?"
The poll was conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, between July 11 and July 31, 2014. It surveyed roughly 500 people and has a margin of error of approximately 3.76 percent.
For more information, visit www.EmployeeFreedomWeek.com and www.CommonwealthFoundation.org.
Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment on today’s poll showing overwhelming support for worker freedom.
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For more information, please contact Cindy Hamill, director of strategic communications at
(856)607-4208 or [email protected]
The Commonwealth Foundation, founded in 1988, crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.