Union Republicans Rewarded with Committee Chairs

Member Group : Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania

We noted last week that the Pennsylvania GOP should take a lesson in leadership from Michigan.

Judging by the list of committee chairs released by the House Republican Caucus yesterday, they’ve completely ignored that suggestion. The Chairperson position is important because they largely set the agenda for legislative hearings. In addition, they can keep legislation from ever reaching the floor for a vote. Two names in particular stood out when we reviewed the committee assignments.

The new Chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee is Rep. Mario Scavello (R-Montour). In 2012, Rep. Scavello was endorsed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and the AFL-CIO. The UFCW is the union which represents liquor store employees. Furthermore, he has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from government unions since 2010; the state teachers’ union (PSEA) has been particularly generous toward him. The selection of Rep. Scavello sends a very clear message that House leadership has no interest in curbing the finical or political influence of government unions.

The second name that bears mentioning is Rep. Gene DiGirolamo. Rep. DiGirolamo will be reprising his role as the Chairman of the Human Services Committee. He also has the distinction of being the only Republican endorsed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Rep. DiGirolamo has been a reliable ally for the SEIU when it comes to advocating for more welfare spending, a budget area overseen by the Human Services Committee. More welfare spending means more welfare workers and that means more dues paid into the SEIU.

It isn’t without irony that the union dues are then used by the SEIU to attack other members of the Republican caucus. So indirectly Rep. DiGirolamo is enabling this group to make the lives of other caucus members miserable. It is also worth noting that Rep. DiGirolamo runs a Political Action Committee (PAC) that funnels union money to pro-labor Republicans. Funneling the money via a third party PAC allows these Republicans to state that they don’t take any union money. The PAC dollars have largely gone to Representatives who oppose liquor store privatization, school choice, ending prevailing wage, etc. These are all issues that were "priorities" that were derailed by the Big Labor Wing of the Republican Party in 2012. However, Republican leadership is rewarding one of the main obstacles to reform, Rep. DiGirolamo, with a committee chairmanship.

The good news is these positions aren’t finalized yet; we would encourage you to contact the House leadership. Ask them what they are thinking with these two appointments and tell them you expect better from them:

Speaker of the House: Rep. Sam Smith [email protected]
Majority Leader: Rep. Mike Turzai [email protected]

If you’d like to offer them a suggestion for the Chair of Labor Committee, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) would be a good choice. He has been a tireless advocate for labor reforms like ending forced unionization. Naming him as Chairman would show that House Leadership was serious about moving reforms forward in Pennsylvania.

Regarding Human Services, anyone would be better than Rep. DiGirolamo.

Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania (CAP) is a non-profit organization founded to raise the standard of living of all Pennsylvanians by restoring limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility. By empowering the Commonwealth’s employers and taxpayers to break state government’s "Iron Triangle" of career politicians, bureaucrats, and Big Government lobbyists, this restoration will occur and Pennsylvania will prosper.

Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania | P.O. Box 6726 | Harrisburg | PA | 17112