September 21, 2018
House Labor and Industry Committee
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Re: House Bill 2571 & House Bill 2593
On behalf of the 4,500 elected officials who govern the Commonwealth’s public school districts, we are writing to request your support of House Bill 2571, sponsored by Representative Kate Klunk, and House Bill 2593, sponsored by Representative Fred Keller, both of which are commonsense approaches to the administration of contracts in Pennsylvania. PSBA commends the sponsors and the committee for responding to the United States Supreme Court’s June 27, 2018 ruling in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, in which the Court declared unconstitutional an Illinois law that operated essentially the same as Pennsylvania statutes, and permitted public employers to agree in collective bargaining agreements to require employees who did not wish to be regular union members to nonetheless pay the union a reduced version of union dues, the so-called “fair share fee.” The fee supposedly excludes the portion of regular dues used by the union for political and other purposes not directly reflecting the costs of representing employees in workplace matters.
PSBA believes that it is rarely wise to leave statutes that have been declared unconstitutional, or that can no longer be followed as written for constitutional reasons in law. Repeal of such statutes or affected portions is appropriate. There is also considerable merit in ensuring that both public employees and employers are aware that public employees who have not chosen to be regular members of unions must not be compelled involuntarily to make payments to those unions and should have time to consider their options. House Bill 2571 would accomplish both of these goals. Further, House Bill 2593 would increase the time period a union member would have to resign their membership in a union from 15 days to 45 days and is a logic step given the outcome of the Janus case.
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association is a nonprofit statewide association representing the 4,500 elected officials who govern the Commonwealth’s public school districts. PSBA is a membership-driven organization, pledged to the highest ideals of local lay leadership for public schools and working to support reform for the betterment of public education that prepares students to be productive citizens, and promote the achievements of public schools, students, and local school boards.
We would like to thank Representative Klunk and Keller for their work on this issue and Chairman Kauffman for considering this bill in the House Labor and Industry Committee. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at (717) 506-2450 x3337.
John M. Callahan, Chief Advocacy Officer