PA Right to Work Update: Senate Proposes Freedom of Employment Act
Last week, five Pennsylvania state senators introduced the Freedom of Employment Act (Senate Bill 1073). The act prohibits employers from conditioning employment on joining a union or paying dues and provides for remedies and penalties in case of a violation. As proposed, the bill declares that making membership or non-membership in a labor organization a condition of employment is “a violation of individual liberty and freedom and is against the public policy of this Commonwealth.”
The bill proposes a criminal penalty: any person who imposes a prohibited requirement or compulsion will be guilty of a misdemeanor in the third degree, punishable by a fine of no more than $1000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months. It also provides for injunctive relief and damages for any injuries sustained.
All six of the January 22, 2013 House bills that comprise the Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative (discussed here), which set forth a similar objective, were referred to the Labor and Industry Committee on April 30, 2013 and remain in committee.
For the same reasons set forth in our January 24 post, the Freedom of Employment Act and the Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative face significant obstacles and opposition.
Check our blog for further updates on the progress of these bills.
For more information regarding this or other labor and employment issues, please contact Rebecca Lacher, a member of Schnader’s Labor and Employment Practices Group.
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