Mercer County union members rally against “Right to Work” bill

The bill, which passed in Senate, would end payroll deductions of political contributions from government employees

Saturday, union members in Mercer County gathered to rally against the "Right to Work" bill that recently passed in the state senate.

MERCER, Pa. (WYTV) – Saturday, union members in Mercer County gathered to rally against the “Right to Work” bill that recently passed in the state senate.

Senate Bill 166 — nicknamed the Paycheck Protection Initiative — passed in the Senate in early February. The bill would end payroll deductions of political contributions from government employees.

Union members say they’re fearful that it’s going to move Pennsylvania one step closer to being a Right to Work state.

“They’ve gotten us good working conditions, fair compensation and a voice in the governance of our universities,” said Carolyn Steglich of Slippery Rock University.

These union members want to stop Pennsylvania Senate Bill 166 — or the “Right to work” legislation — from moving forward.

“It’s a pretty package,” said Shawnee Wood of the Mercer County Coordinating Council. “It’s fancy words, but it’s very harmful to our state.”

“It’s really our right to work for less,” said Andrew Harkulich of the United Steel Workers. “And it doesn’t affect just union members, it affects all workers. Union members are responsible for lifting up the wages of regular workers.”

The bill is currently in the House for consideration.

“We gotta get ahead of it,” Harkulich said. “Right now we have a governor who’s supporting us and he has the veto power right now to veto the bill. We don’t know that we’re always going to have that governor.”

“In 2018 we’re facing a governor’s race and the candidate who’s already come out forward said this is his goal,” Wood said.

Those who support Right to Work think it would help with job creation and increased wages for working families.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 28-22. It’s expected to face a close vote in the House as well.