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Pa. public employees voice support for union reform

Members of the House Labor and Industry committee today passed a collection of public sector labor reform bills – HB 844HB 845HB 2042, and HB 2048 – that have garnered support from public employees across the state.

Rochelle Porto, a special education teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, explains why she supports the bills:

Public unions silence teachers’ voices by withholding information about their rights and making it hard for them to resign their membership. I am delighted that lawmakers are focusing on legislation that will help to protect public employees like me from union officials’ abuse of power. These bills would help hold unions accountable to their members and ensure our First Amendment rights are upheld.

Rochelle is one of many public employees who submitted testimony in support of the bills passed today. You can find her testimony below, along with testimony from public employees across Pennsylvania. Notably, every public employee who submitted testimony on these bills was in favor of their passage.

Rochelle Porto, special education teacher, School District of Philadelphia
Cheri Gensel, social studies teacher, North Pocono School District
Jennifer O’Leary, elementary school librarian, Boyertown Area School District
Jason Kohute, auditor, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
Sonnie Bentley, paraprofessional
Trent Bryden, school teacher
Kenneth Hemmler, elementary school teacher
Jane Ladley, former public school teacher

Public employees have also written opinion pieces in PennLive, Trib Live, and The Norristown Times Herald about their experiences.

David Osborne, Chief Executive Officer, Americans for Fair Treatment, is available for comment. His testimony on the bills can be found here.

Americans for Fair Treatment is a national nonprofit organization that educates public employees about their rights in a unionized workplace and connects these employees with all available resources to defend those rights. We offer a free membership program, networking opportunities, and professional development scholarships to support qualifying public employees. 

Isabel Blank

Isabel Blank is Communications Director at Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector employees offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Prior to joining Americans for Fair Treatment in 2021, Isabel worked in media relations at Travelers Insurance and held government affairs and communications roles with Yankee Institute. She has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish, both from the University of Connecticut (Go Huskies!). Isabel loves Crossfit and supporting her local Connecticut breweries.