PENNSYLVANIA — As President Biden signs his historic infrastructure package that will create thousands of good-paying, union jobs here in Pennsylvania, the Republican candidates for Governor want to roll back workers’ rights and reward special interests and the wealthy. The Republican candidates in the “Super MAGA” primary have long, dangerous records of working to undermine Pennsylvania workers.
“While Democrats are delivering the largest investment in American infrastructure in history, the far-right GOP candidates are campaigning on a clear anti-worker platform, choosing to put special interests and the wealthy ahead of Pennsylvania workers,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Marisa Nahem. “Good-paying jobs, a fair economy, and workers’ rights are at stake in 2022 — the far-right PA-Gov field would gut prevailing wage laws, roll back the right to organize, and reward the wealthy at hardworking Pennsylvanians’ expense. Pennsylvania has a proud tradition of workers organizing to secure fair pay and benefits for themselves and their families — we can’t afford a Republican Governor who would undermine that.”
Check out some highlights from Lou Barletta, Doug Mastriano, Jake Corman, and Bill McSwain’s crusade against Pennsylvania workers:
Lou Barletta has a long record of opposing workers’ rights and putting special interests ahead of workers, despite his best efforts to dodge questions as he runs for Governor. Starting in 2000, Barletta was the Mayor of Hazleton, where he bragged about throwing out contracts with unions and setting a single day record for the number of anti-union grievances filed against him. In his first 100 days alone, the four unions representing city workers filed “a record number” of grievances against him and his administration.
But Barletta’s anti-labor record doesn’t stop there — in Congress, Barletta voted against worker safety and defended corporations who ripped off their employees. He voted to cut the budget of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which works to “ensure safe and healthy work environments for miners,” voted against prohibiting federal contracts from going to companies who “willfully and repeatedly” violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, and voted for the 2017 GOP tax bill, which gave billions of dollars in tax giveaways to the wealthy and corporations. Barletta’s anti-labor record is so impressive that it earned him a 31 percent lifetime rating from the AFL-CIO.
Now, as Barletta runs for governor, he’s awkwardly refusing to answer whether he’d support right-to-work legislation, calling the question “hypothetical” — and he also refused to say whether he’d support a Republican effort to gut prevailing wage laws, even though that bill has been introduced in Harrisburg.
Similarly, Doug Mastriano has made it clear that he will put far-right special interests ahead of Pennsylvania workers. Earlier this year, Mastriano was only one of seven who voted against raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour and cosponsored a bill to make the prevailing wage law in Pennsylvania “optional,” which could lead to lower wages for blue collar workers.
Mastriano’s anti-worker record is nothing new though. He seemed to suggest he opposes all minimum wage laws, saying in an interview that it would be better if we “let the free market decide how much it’s going to be paid, not the government.” Instead, Mastriano has cosponsored multiple bills to lower taxes for the wealthy.
Jake Corman has been in Harrisburg for over 23 years, and he’s built a dangerous record opposing labor rights and siding with special interests. In 2014, Corman voted in favor of an amendment that would ban payroll deductions of school employees’ union dues, which was called an “attack on unions.” In 2015, he voted for a bill that looked “suspiciously like a union busting effort” and would have required unions to collect dues directly from members. In 2017, Corman voted to pass Senate Bill 166 — legislation that would “prohibit public employers from negotiating to deduct voluntary PAC contributions from public employees’ paychecks.” The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO called the bill “anti-worker” and a “violation of the first amendment rights of firefighters, teachers, police officers, and public service workers.”
Bill McSwain has long been an enemy of unions and workers’ rights — he himself has boasted about his dangerous anti-labor agenda.
In a recent interview, McSwain threatened unions, saying, “I am not going to be a friend of public sector unions,” adding “I would do everything possible to make sure that Janus is implemented [in Pennsylvania],” referring to the Supreme Court decision which dealt a huge blow to workers’ rights. McSwain even said he “would definitely consider” making Pennsylvania a right-to-work state – a stance that should be disqualifying in a state with a proud history of organized labor.