Harrisburg

Union workers stay overnight on Capital stairs to protest upcoming Supreme Court decision

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -- - An upcoming Supreme Court decision about union rights is causing workers to protest nationwide, including the Capital City.

On Monday, protesters stayed overnight on the Capitol building's stairs to send a message to lawmakers. 

"We're not going anywhere. We're here for the duration until what happens has to happen, and tomorrow, we'll be here all day again," said Donna Heimbach, healthcare union worker. 

What they want is lawmakers' support for unions. 

"There aren't too many unions that represent CEOs We're representing the middle class and the working class, and if we're not here, I don't know whose gonna be speaking for us," said Andy Hilt, social service union worker. 

"If my company wants to come to me and say, 'I don't think you deserve a wage increase,' I get to say to them, 'yes I do. You can't say to myself or my fellow workers that I'm not worth anymore money to you than what I make right now,'" said Kelli Trent, dental healthcare union worker. 

If the Supreme Court decides to overturn the nearly 40 year precedent for union rights, which would mean allowing members to not pay dues, the protestors believe that their organizations and ability to bargain for fair conditions would crumble. 

"Just like any other structure, you need financial contributions to make things work and if we don't have that, we can't do any of the things we do. We can't come out and we can't rally. We can't have negotiations. We can't have trainings," Trent said. 

Protestors believe that big business would benefit and wouldn't be held accountable to make fair decisions about employees' vacation time, pensions and sick leave. 

"They don't want us to have earned sick time. They would prefer that I come into work whether or not I'm sick. They're not concerned about whether or not I'm sick and infect all of these people," Trent said. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the protestors will be joined by hundreds of more union workers who will demand politicians' support. 

"We are a force to be reckoned with, and we need to be paid attention to, and we all have friends who vote, and we're gonna vote in November," Hilt said. 

At 4:39 p.m. on Monday, Representatives Dan Miller and Ed Neilson showed their support by introducing  a resolution in the General Assembly to support union workers and collective bargaining to ensure fair pay. 


More Stories

Investigations

Latest Local