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Corbett: Pa. Lacks Will To Pass 'right-to-work'

A right-to-work bill in the 50-member state Senate attracted just nine sponsors, all Republicans. Absent were the names of Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi and those of about a dozen Republicans from the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions. Just 35 members of the 203-member state House joined as sponsors to a bill in that chamber.

David Patti, a Corbett supporter who leads the Harrisburg-based business advocacy group, the Pennsylvania Business Council, said Monday that right-to-work legislation is barely on his list of priorities because it is "too much of a political lift."

"This is a very pro-labor state and for the larger firms, they have long ago come to some accommodation with the workforce and organized labor," said Patti, whose members include United States Steel Corp. and General Electric Co. "If I was waving a magic wand or could do it just because I said so, sure, but we're not making an effort on it."

Rep. Ron Miller, R-York, the House Labor and Industry Committee chairman for the past two years, said he saw no chance for right-to-work legislation after he failed to get enough House support to pass what he viewed as a modest prevailing-wage change that was opposed by private-sector construction unions.

"It is a very difficult lift and if the governor is saying he's not going to lead the charge, I don't see us getting it done," Miller said.

Amid protests by unionized nurses, autoworkers and others, Michigan could become the 24th state with a right-to-work law once House and Senate Republicans reconcile wording in separate bills passed speedily last week.

It is the latest blow delivered by Republicans to organized labor in a northern industrial state. Wisconsin curtailed collective bargaining for most public employees last year and Indiana enacted a right-to-work law this year.

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