Neilson rejects bill that would eliminate workers’ rights

HARRISBURG, Dec. 13 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., voted against legislation that targets workers’ voluntary contributions to the unions that represent them.

Senate Bill 166, also known as the paycheck protection bill, was intended to limit unions’ political donations by prohibiting state, county and local governments from using their payroll systems to let workers voluntarily ask their employers to deduct money for their respective union’s political action committees. The House defeated the bill, 102-90.

Neilson said the legislation would have taken back achievements and rights acquired after decades of efforts and advocacy through contract negotiations and the collective bargaining process.

“This was an attack on our union worker rights and an attempt to silence their voice in the political process,” Neilson said. “Senate Bill 166 would have put in danger workplace democracy and it would have translated into the weakening of the rights of public sector employees. Workers would not have been able to have a voice for themselves to fight against efforts to privatize or eliminate their jobs. We could have potentially lost thousands of jobs.”

He also indicated that states subjected to paycheck protection and similar policies experience higher rates of poverty, greater risk of worker injury and fewer benefits.

“We cannot allow such policies to take root in our commonwealth. Our legislature needs to shift its priorities. It is time for the government to work for the people. It is time to grow our economy and create good jobs that support families, expand opportunities and protect your financial future; not prop up an economy rigged for the well-connected and corporate special interests,” Neilson said.