Pennsylvania Republicans passed a bill Tuesday outlawing union harassment and threats. The measure will still need a signature from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf who has been accused of union bias.
The state legislature passed the measure with a 107 to 91 vote. It’s designed to close a legal loophole that allows labor unions involved in a dispute to stalk, harass, and threaten others without risk of legal trouble. Nathan Benefield, vice president of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation, noted the measure is commonsense and Wolf should sign it.
“It’s almost impossible to believe, but currently law grants a get out of jail free card to stalking, intimidation, and even threats to use weapons of mass destruction if you’re involved in a labor dispute,” Benefield said in a statement. “This loophole was cited by a judge last year to dismiss a Philadelphia case where clear harassment had taken place.”
The case involved Philadelphia construction executive Sarina Rose. She was allegedly subject to harassment from union members, including a threat to shoot her. A judge dismissed the case, however, citing an exemption in the criminal code.
“There’s simply no plausible justification for tolerating stalking, harassment,” Benefield added. “Governor Wolf should sign this commonsense legislation immediately.”
A signature from the governor is no guarantee. Wolf has been accused multiple times in the past of union bias. A lawsuit filed by The Fairness Center, a non-profit law firm, back in April accused Wolf of unfairly benefiting unions. The lawsuit focused on an executive order that made in much easier for unions to organize homecare workers in the state.
Some union leaders are not happy with the bill. State AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale argued the measure is more about union busting than anything else.
“House Bill 874 is another example of overreach by a political agenda that is not based on reality but on extreme ideology against unions and union members,” Bloomingdale said prior the bill’s passage in a statement obtained by the Examiner. “There is no need for another law when the current laws are protecting the rights of workers to have a voice and to protect the property of businesses.”
“This is simply an effort to engage in union busting and attacking those who advocate for decent wages and benefits through collective bargaining and organizing campaigns,” Bloomingdale added.
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