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Knowles joins in unveiling Open Work Force Initiative in Harrisburg

Published January 23. 2013 05:04PM

HARRISBURG - State Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Schuylkill) joined several House colleagues in unveiling Pennsylvania's Open Workforce Initiative at a press conference held today at the Capitol. The bill package is aimed at giving all Pennsylvania employees an option as to whether or not they join a union at their jobs.

Knowles is the prime sponsor of House Bill 54 which prohibits private-sector employment from being conditional upon membership or non-membership in a labor organization. Compulsory dues would be prohibited for non-union members.

"This whole idea of giving employees a choice when it comes to whether or not they want to belong to a union is a no-brainer," said Knowles. "Though my bill focuses specifically on private-sector employees, this is a fundamental right that should belong to all employees. Unions will not be eliminated as a result of this proposal - but employees will have the right to say no to join a union if they don't wish to belong."

In addition to Knowles' bill, the Open Workforce Initiative includes measures to ensure that employment in Pennsylvania is not conditioned upon membership or non-membership in a union or on the payment or non-payment of money to labor organizations. Additionally, school teachers, and local and state government workers have the option to join a union. And public-sector employees would have the opportunity to opt out of their union at any time.

For more information on Pennsylvania's Open Workforce Initiative, House Bill 54, or any state-related issue, visit or call his office in Tamaqua at (570) 668-1240, or in Hamburg at (610) 562-3411.

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