Gov. Tom Corbett has said he would sign legislation barring the automatic deduction of union dues from a public employee’s paycheck.
Two bills addressing the issue — one in the State House and one in the State Senate — haven’t come up for a vote yet, but they’ve already set off a wave of debate.
Proponents of the bill say they don’t like the idea of government collecting money for unions, which often find themselves in the middle of political battles.
Union leaders from the public and private sector have joined forces against the proposed legislation, describing it as an attempt to bust organized labor. David Fillman, executive director of the AFSCME Council 13, called it a “vindictive” move.
Corbett said he would talk to parties on both sides of the issue and see whether leaders in the General Assembly have the votes to push through the legislation.
“Superintendent Hite’s announcement that the district will not recommend closing schools for next year is a validation of the concerns expressed repeatedly over the past year by parents, educators, students and community members in response to the district’s closing of 27 public schools,” said President Jerry Jordan of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
“We can only improve education in the city by strengthening our neighborhood schools, not closing them or handing them over to charter companies and other private interests. But that improvement can only come when our schools have the resources to provide programs and services like counselors, school nurses, librarians, technology, extracurricular activities and adequate classroom supplies.
“As Dr. Hite indicated, closing neighborhood schools and slashing education programs not only jeopardizes the future of our students, but harms future economic prospects for our city.
“The district’s decision not to close schools will help stop the bleeding. But Philadelphia’s schools need a sustainable funding formula to begin the healing and ensure every child in the city has the opportunity to take advantage of a quality public education.”