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Labor Wins In PA, Loses in Court

The Pennsylvania State House is in Recess until September, and, thanks to the efforts of labor and its allies, votes on liquor and pension privatization, and paycheck protection, were left untaken.

State AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale said, "Our slogan has always been 'your fight is our fight', and the solidarity demonstrated by the labor movement over this legislative session has embodied that mantra.”

State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder saw these victories as part of a larger and longer-term resistance:

“The fact that we have endured nearly four years of failed leadership from Tom Corbett without suffering the consequences of the worst legislative attacks that this administration brought upon us, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our 800,000 rank and file members across the Commonwealth,”

In the last months of the Legislative Session, tens of thousands of phone calls, thousands of letters, and numerous e-mails and office vists were made in efforts to defeat anti-worker legislation.

There is still work to be done, when the House returns in September, efforts may be made to bring these bills to a vote.

The U.S Supreme Court dealt labor a blow, though, with it's ruling on Harris v Quinn. In that ruling, a 5-4 court ruled that non-union members cannot be required to reimburse unions who bargain on their behalf. The Majority opinion recognizes that a category of "partial public employees" exist. According to Think Progress, this ruling may become precedent for future legal decisions against unions.

An article in The Nation proposes a new direction for labor that in light of this decision may be worth exploring. I will review and expand on this article later this week.

This decision, and the upcoming elections are sure to be major topics at both the July 23 Community Service Institute in Pittsburgh, and the August 22-24 COPE Institute at Linden Hall.

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