PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With Michigan, a strong union state, approving right to work Legislation opposed by organized labor, could Pennsylvania be next?

Supporters call them right to work laws, while opponents call them right to work for less laws, but whatever you call it, it’s controversial.

Dawn Meling of the Conservative Commonwealth Foundation said these laws are the trend of the future.

“It means that workers are no longer compelled to part with part of their salary in order to join the union just to keep their job,” Meling said.

Leo Gerard of the United Steelworkers appeared on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Wednesday morning and said such laws give the benefits of union collective bargaining to those who won’t pay union dues.

“The benefits that come from health care, maybe life insurance, in a collective agreement — the freeloader in right to work gets to have that representation and not participate in the financial structure that allows us to have that voice at work,” Gerard said.

Business professor Jim Craft said unions, which are already in decline, are worried.

“There’s academic evidence, research evidence, that indicates the higher proportion of a bargaining unit that’s unionized, the better the wage levels are in those areas. So, there’s strong reasons why unions want this security,” Craft said.

Gov. Tom Corbett said while he’ll sign a right to work bill, it’s not a priority. However, supporters are gearing up.

“I think our odds for getting it done in 2013 are so much more encouraging,” Meling said.

With a Republican governor, a Republican State Senate, and a Republican State House, you would think it would be easy for Pennsylvania to enact anti-union legislation.

However, union officials said that Pennsylvania is still a strong union state, and a couple dozen Republican legislators were elected with union support.

Professor Craft said local unions are on alert.

“I would suspect there would be a great deal of discussion before there is some action taken in this state,” Craft said.


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