State Budget Lacks the Push Needed to Put Pennsylvania Back to Work

Jul 02, 2013, 11:09 ET from Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder today expressed their deep gratitude to those legislators who stood with working families in defending good jobs and retirement security of working families which were under constant assault throughout the process in passing a State Budget.

"Governor Corbett, along with some leaders and some members of the Legislature were constantly trying to tie their anti-worker agenda of privatization, which included Wine and Spirits and the Pennsylvania Lottery, and attacks on good pensions for public sector workers throughout the budget process. Some legislators tried to force building and construction trades workers into a race to the bottom of low wages and skills by attempting to attack Pennsylvania's Prevailing Wage law.  

Thanks in large part to the efforts of our unions, as well as our efforts, and those of our supporters in the State Legislature, who value work and respect working people, we were successful in defeating these attacks. We are well aware that the battle is not over. We expect more challenges in the weeks and months ahead until we can either change the thinking and/or political dynamics here in Harrisburg," Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Bloomingdale said.

"We will continue standing side by side with our unions and our friends as we fight to protect and defend good jobs, good wages, and benefits that sustain families and help build communities. We stand together in unity and solidarity for policies that create and protect good jobs, improve economic opportunities, and grow our middle class here in Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Snyder added.

"We stand ready to work with the Legislature on a real transportation funding plan that prepares Pennsylvania for the 21st Century by improving roads, bridges, and our mass transit systems. However it is contradictory and counter-productive to try to link transportation funding to privatization of Pennsylvania's Wine and Spirits. A real transportation funding plan will create thousands of good jobs for Pennsylvania's working families both in the building and construction trades as well as supplier industries. Privatization of Wine and Spirits destroys 5,000 good, family sustaining jobs and puts an additional 12,000 owners and workers in family-owned beer distributors in jeopardy," Snyder said.  

"As for the state budget, we are disappointed that so much of the focus and messaging centered around Governor Corbett's legislative agenda and not on real job creation policies. Expansion of Medicaid for uninsured working Pennsylvanians was an important opportunity to improve health care, lower costs, and put thousands of Pennsylvanians back to work. According to the recent Rand Corporation report, Medicaid expansion can create 40,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. This is an opportunity that should be seized now," Bloomingdale said.

"We are falling behind the rest of the nation in the pace of job creation. When Governor Corbett took office we were ranked 7th in job creation, now after three years and three budgets, we are ranked 47th.  It's time for our elected officials to make jobs the number one priority in the State Budget," Bloomingdale said. 

"Whatever the issue, the one thing this recent budget go-around proved; there is nothing more powerful than the solidarity and unity of workers," Bloomingdale concluded.

SOURCE Pennsylvania AFL-CIO