Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Pennsylvania Legislature Confronts Union Violence

laborpains 9 10 altUnions have multiple exemptions from commonly applied laws that protect people from violence and intimidation. Perhaps nowhere in the country is that more the case than in Pennsylvania, where unions have a wide exemption from stalking, harassment, and threats of violence laws. The state legislature is looking to change that:

The state legislature passed the measure with a 107 to 91 vote. It’s designed to close a legal loophole that allows labor unions involved in a dispute to stalk, harass, and threaten others without risk of legal trouble.

And while the loophole wasn’t quite big enough to give cover to the “nightwork” committed by “The Helpful Union Guys” of Philadelphia Ironworkers Local 401, it is still substantial. The Daily Caller reports one example:

The case involved Philadelphia construction executive Sarina Rose. She was allegedly subject to harassment from union members, including a threat to shoot her. A judge dismissed the case, however, citing an exemption in the criminal code.

And Pennsylvanians are not alone. Federal law exempts unions from certain anti-racketeering laws if the actions are in pursuit of “legitimate union objectives.” The Employee Rights Act (ERA) is a piece of federal legislation that would make eight substantial reforms to American labor laws. Among those reforms are a provision to protect employees from union violence by closing the federal loophole. Additionally, unions would be held to the same standard when facing decertification votes that employers face when facing unionization campaigns.

Pennsylvania should correct its particularly grievous union privilege, and Congress should  follow suit and close the federal loopholes.

Categories: AFL-CIOCenter for Union FactsEmployee Rights ActViolence