Se­nate com­mit­tee holds hear­ing on Supreme Court de­ci­sion re­gard­ing pub­lic sec­tor unions

Ar­gall: Hear­ing is first step to un­der­stand im­pact on pub­lic em­ploy­ees, their rights and pay­check as well as state’s re­sponse

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS - From Sen. David Ar­gall’s Of­fice

Sen. David G. Ar­gall (R29) chaired a Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Pol­icy Com­mit­tee hear­ing with ex­perts on the re­cently de­cided U.S. Supreme Court case Janus v AFSCME at the state Capi­tol on Oct. 25 to learn more about the court de­ci­sion’s im­pact on pub­lic em­ployee unions and po­ten­tial state leg­isla­tive re­sponses.

The hear­ing was re­quested by Sen­a­tor John H. Eichel­berger, Jr. (R-30), who re­cently in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion to im­ple­ment re­forms to pro­vide no­ti­fi­ca­tion for pub­lic em­ploy­ees who are part of a col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing unit.

“To­day’s hear­ing is a first step to un­der­stand the im­pact of the Supreme Court’s de­ci­sion on pub­lic em­ploy­ees, their rights and their pay­check as well as what the state’s re­sponse could and should be. As the grand­son of a teacher who was fired due to pol­i­tics decades ago at a time when teach­ers had no rights at all, I un­der­stand the sen­si­tive na­ture of this is­sue,” Ar­gall said.

“It was im­por­tant for mem­bers of the leg­is­la­ture and the gen­eral pub­lic to hear about the broad im­pli­ca­tions of the de­ci­sion by the United States Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME,” Eichel­berger said. “As we learned in to­day’s hear­ing, many pub­lic em­ploy­ees in Penn­syl­va­nia are un­aware that their First Amend­ment rights are be­ing vi­o­lated. I am very ap­pre­cia­tive of the na­tional voices who came to tes­tify to­day on worker’s rights, in­clud­ing for­mer U.S. Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion, Wil­liam J. Ben­nett.”

The hear­ing featured Dr. Bill Ben­nett, who serves as Chair­man of the Con­ser­va­tive Lead­ers for Ed­u­ca­tion. Dr. Ben­nett also served as Pres­i­dent Rea­gan’s Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion.

“[The] Janus [de­ci­sion] could be a crit­i­cal turn­ing point for our schools and the pro­fes­sion of teach­ing if the right de­ci­sions are made go­ing for­ward,” Ben­nett said, en­cour­ag­ing sup­port for a pro­posal of­fered by Sen­a­tor Eichel­berger.

“A decade from now, will we be able to look back and say this was a turn­ing point for schools and the pro­fes­sion of teach­ing, or will we have to say it was an­other lost op­por­tu­nity to do bet­ter for our stu­dents, our teach­ers, the teach­ing pro­fes­sion and our na­tion?,” he asked.

The hear­ing also featured Vin­cent Ver­nuc­cio, who is a se­nior fel­low at the Mack­inac Cen­ter for Pub­lic Pol­icy; Ter­rence Pell, Pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter for In­di­vid­ual Rights; David R. Os­borne, Pres­i­dent and Gen­eral Coun­sel of The Fair­ness Cen­ter; and Greg Hart­nett, who is a pub­lic school teacher at the Homer-Cen­ter School District in In­di­ana County.

Ver­nuc­cio dis­cussed the myth that in­di­vid­u­als who do not wish to pay union dues are “free riders.”

“They are forced riders,” he said, stat­ing that they do not want to see their dues go to po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns they ve­he­mently dis­agree with but have no other op­tions.

Hart­nett, who fought to leave his teach­ers union, re­counted the chal­lenges of find­ing a res­o­lu­tion.

“It took a great deal of time and ef­fort to leave my union,” he tes­ti­fied.

Pell ar­gued that the states that are putting up road­blocks to make it more dif­fi­cult for em­ploy­ees to will­ingly leave their pub­lic sec­tor union said they will ex­pe­ri­ence higher costs. He said the Eichel­berger pro­posal would be a “huge cost-saver.”

In his clos­ing, Ben­nett said the most im­por­tant thing the leg­is­la­ture can do at the state level is to have thought­ful and sen­si­tive dis­cus­sions about ad­vanc­ing any leg­isla­tive agenda that fol­lows through on this im­por­tant Supreme Court de­ci­sion.

More in­for­ma­tion on the pub­lic hear­ing, in­clud­ing tes­ti­mony, can be found on the Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Pol­icy Com­mit­tee’s web­site at pol­icy.pase­n­at­e­ or at www.Se­na­torAr­


The Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Pol­icy Com­mit­tee lis­tens to the Con­ser­va­tive Lead­ers for Ed­u­ca­tion’s Dr. Bill Ben­nett at a pub­lic hear­ing in the state Capi­tol on the re­cent U.S. Supreme Court de­ci­sion on Janus v AFSCME. Sen­a­tor David G. Ar­gall (R-29), cen­ter, chaired the hear­ing and was held at the re­quest of Sen­a­tor John H. Eichel­berger, Jr. (R-30), right.

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