By MARC LEVY
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) â¿¿ Gov. Tom Corbett said Monday that Pennsylvania apparently lacks the political will to become a "right-to-work" state, a key issue for conservatives as Republicans in fellow industrial state Michigan prepare to pass such a law over the protests of organized labor.
Corbett, a first-term Republican, has never made right-to-work legislation a priority while he battles unions on other issues. His spokesman said the governor would support such a bill if it reached his desk. Right-to-work bills languished in the GOP-controlled Legislature without even a committee vote during the recently-completed two-year session.
"There is not much of a movement to do it and lot of it has to do with the politics at the local level, at the county level and at the state level," Corbett said during a regular appearance on the Dom Giordano Program on WPHT-AM in Philadelphia. "Until I see a strong will to get legislation passed, we have a lot of other things that we have to get passed."
Right-to-work bills prohibit requirements that employees join a union or pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Supporters say it is an issue of freedom of association for workers and improving the business climate. Critics contend the real intent â¿¿ to bleed unions of money and bargaining power â¿¿ would destroy the middle class.
"It's a line in the sand we'll fight very hard on," said Rick Bloomingdale, president of the AFL-CIO labor federation in Pennsylvania.
In a speech Saturday at a Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association breakfast in New York City, Corbett laid out his priorities for the future and did not mention right-to-work legislation. During his first two years in office, Corbett scored other victories for business advocates, including lower taxes and tightened limits on civil liability and unemployment compensation obligations.