Another Head Scratching Example from Harrisburg

(York, PA) I reported last week that the Senate Appropriations committee was holding budget meetings this week.

This past Tuesday, a hearing was held with the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) at which time Kathy Mandarino, the Secretary of L&I testified.

Most of the questions asked by members of the committee were centered around the closings of the Unemployment Compensation Call Centers and layoffs of call center employees.

Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster County) asked, since we are being told that calls were going unanswered or delayed, are “all hands on deck” using supervisors or middle management people to help answer calls or process paperwork?

In the private sector, the term “all hands on deck” is used during surges in call volume or when extra labor is needed during certain times such as a snow storm, a tornado, and or flooding or some other type of crisis or emergency situation.

Also in the private sector, during certain times of the year a business may experience extreme surges in their business volume and it is a common practice for many other employees, such as managers and supervisors, to help out in specific departments, instead of hiring additional people.

Secretary Mandarino responded that since most of the call center employees were covered by a collectively bargained union contract that supervisors or upper level managers cannot perform collectively bargained work.

Senator Patrick Browne (R-Lehigh County) asked during his round of questioning for more specifics and Secretary Mandarino described the call center issues as bad as a “patient bleeding on a gurney.”

That response made me laugh – so if the patient is bleeding to death, only unionized employees covered under a collectively bargained contract can work to stop the bleeding and save the patient and non-unionized employees have to stand by and watch the patient bleed to death.

Seems reasonable as long I am not the patient.

Since the layoffs, my Senate office has received numerous calls from laid off workers – and we have helped every one that needed assistance to get benefits. You probably won’t be surprised to find out that many of those calls came from outside of my Senate district – and were prompted to call by Democrats and union bosses.

There are many hardworking people working for the Unemployment Compensation system here in Pennsylvania. It is a tragedy that they are required to pay dues to a union that has done nothing but make their job harder and use them to play political games.

If you recall over the last several years, I have reported that it is the public sectors unions that are running Harrisburg – the Unemployment Compensation Call Center situation is a great example – the two public sector unions that represent call center employees are the SEIU – Service Employees International Union and AFSCME – American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

I want to keep this email short but I think you get the point of who is running Harrisburg – the public sector unions.

Stay tuned for more details of how the public sector unions have gained so much power and influence in Harrisburg – I will be sending an email next week.

Harrisburg & Public Sector Unions – the gift that keeps giving and taking!

Have a great weekend.

Scott Wagner