[The following blog entry was put together by Laura Saccente, Government Relations director in the Harrisburg office — Steve]
Let me begin by stating my initial thoughts about attending the Harrisburg Capitol Rally “to save the American Dream” were not exactly enthusiastic. For starters, I have been battling the flu for a week. Second, my husband was working, and so I had to wake my nine-month-old Ethan from a peaceful sleeping state inside to join a boisterous crowd of hundreds outdoors. But I strapped on the Baby Bjorn (aka baby carrier) and headed out to see what was going on in Harrisburg. On the Capitol steps were approximately 1,000 people to show support for Wisconsin workers and, at the same time, demanding an end to the attacks on worker’s rights in other states and in our very own state of Pennsylvania. It was a strong show of solidarity. There were people of all ages, from a woman nearing triple digits with her walker telling Wisconsin Governor Walker “hands off WI workers” to infants nearing one digit, like my son, who seemed to enjoy the rally as well, considering there were many dogs to pet.
The crowd demanded respect, demanded the rich and powerful to pay their fair share and demanded protection of collective bargaining rights. In my mind, the message sent from the rally was not only clear support for Wisconsin workers, who are facing drastic anti-union legislation, but also a message to legislators like Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, who is preparing “Right-to-Work” legislation that would weaken unions and damage the middle class. “Right-to-Work” bills have been perennially introduced (by Metcalfe) and rejected in Pennsylvania, but the anti-union movement in Wisconsin and other states has shed a new light on this legislation. The rally on Saturday was a forewarning that the trampling of collective bargaining rights will not be easily tolerated in Pennsylvania and a battle has been waged.
Seeing such a large cry of solidarity this Saturday in Harrisburg and other rallies across the state, my thoughts go out to APSCUF members and what actions they are preparing to gear up for a coming battle. Some are getting the word out like KU-Exchange. Others are having their own rallies of support like Shippensburg APSCUF. What have you done?
An immediate action that all APSCUF members should take is to contribute to APSCUF/CAP, the Political Action Committee. Contributing is vital, as it is at times our only access point with legislators.
Giving to APSCUF/CAP has never been easier, simply go to https://www.apscuf.org/cap.html and contribute immediately via PayPal. You can also download a voluntary Payroll Deduction form and fill it out.
This is a time of crisis and we need everyone’s contributions. You may not be able to fly to Wisconsin and protest personally, or have the time to stay current on what is happening in the other states, but you can make a difference by taking a few minutes out of your day to contribute and help secure your rights as a Commonwealth employee.