Proud to stand with unions

Having the opportunity to stand with constituents and support issues that matter most to us is one of my favorite parts of serving as your state representative. Whether fighting for education funding and property tax relief or animal protection laws and everything in between, it is important to me that I use my position and voice to help advance issues that positively impact Lackawanna County and the people who live here. 

In doing this, I often find myself standing with and supporting labor unions and their members. Unions have improved lives and working conditions in northeast Pennsylvania and across the nation for years. Today, they continue to make sure that people are adequately paid for their labor and that hardworking people are not taken advantage of. Last Monday, I had the opportunity to stand with the Keystone Mountain Lakes Regional Council of the Brotherhood of Carpenters at a rally in Harrisburg.

They stopped into town to protest and highlight the negative impact labor brokers and tax fraud have on our economy and our communities. I was happy to stand with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to highlight this problem and show I am willing to support measures put forth to end these adverse practices.

For those not familiar, a labor broker is someone who acts as a facilitator between laborers and companies in an attempt to save companies money. Very often, they pay cash under the table to avoid paying taxes, misclassify workers to avoid paying benefits, health care or overtime, and do not insure workers against on-the-job injury or for workers compensation. While corporations and large companies profit immensely from these actions, that is unfortunately not the case for their hard-working employees.

The impact is felt across the board as well as throughout communities. First, these practices hurt honest businesses that are left unable to compete. They also hurt our unions, leading to fewer family-sustaining jobs that are the backbone of our area and the nation’s economy. Not to mention, these actions lead to catastrophic tax revenue losses, with an estimated $200 million lost right here in Pennsylvania. That money could help pave our roads, lower property taxes, increase teacher salaries, accelerate efforts to curb the opioid crisis and so much more.

It’s important for all companies to play by the rules and not cut corners simply for a bigger profit. I am happy to share that state Attorney General Josh Shapiro has indicated his office will take further steps to ensure labor brokering is stopped in the Commonwealth. I look forward to understanding how the state House can best play a role in remedying this problem. Democrats and Republicans alike, working together, can ensure honest, union jobs prosper today and for future generations. 

I hope you find this issue as important as I do. As always, please contact my office at 570-342-4348 if you have any questions or comments on this bill, or on any state-related matter. Hearing what issues and causes are most important to you helps me mold and fine tune my policy standpoints.