HARRISBURG — State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe will introduce legislation to ban compulsory union membership in Pennsylvania.
If passed, the law would affect tens of thousands of public sector employees in places such as school districts and municipal and state governments, employees who are forced to pay dues to unions even if they don’t join them.
Metcalfe, R-12th, is capitalizing on national momentum built in states such as Indiana and Michigan, both of which recently passed versions of Right to Work legislation.
The Cranberry Township politician has advocated for the issue since his election to the Legislature in 1999.
However, there is a different feeling in Harrisburg now, Metcalfe said.
“I’m optimistic that we have a better chance this year, in this session, than we’ve ever had before,” Metcalfe said.
He blasted unionism in Pennsylvania and said no one should be forced to pay dues.
But Marcus Schlegel, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state’s largest public sector union, railed against Metcalfe’s bill.
“There is no such thing as compulsory unionism in Pennsylvania, period,” he said. “I don’t care what Metcalfe says. It does not exist here, and nobody is forced to join a union here.”
Schlegel said the teachers’ union does enforce a “fair share fee,” where employees wanting to remain independent of the union still have to pay a “very small fee” to the union.
That’s because the union under state law is required to represent every employee, union member or not, and the fee helps it do that.