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What is a "right to work" state? Pennsylvania

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  • What is a "right to work" state? Pennsylvania

    I am a Pennsylvania employer. Depending on business conditions, we employ between ten and fifteen great employees. We do not have a collective bargaining agreement.

    Several years ago I had the unfortunate task of firing an individual. To ensure that I had taken all of the proper steps, verbal meetings, written warnings, etc., I telephoned the PA Board of Labor Relations in Harrisburg.

    The lady that took my telephone call advised me that Pennsylvania is a right to work state and that I could fire anyone for any reason. She went as far to elaborate that an employee could be terminated simply because the employer did not like the employee.

    That statement has confused me for many years. What is a right to work state?
    I am not now and have never been a lawyer. I am an employer, a manager and an engineer and as such I am freely offering information which you may find useful. The information is strictly my opinion, is subject to change and is not intended as legal advice. Feel free to use this information at your own risk.

  • #2
    Found the answer

    Hmm... after I posted this thread, I found some articles on your website that explain the "right to work" law.

    Thank you.
    I am not now and have never been a lawyer. I am an employer, a manager and an engineer and as such I am freely offering information which you may find useful. The information is strictly my opinion, is subject to change and is not intended as legal advice. Feel free to use this information at your own risk.

    Comment


    • #3
      The individual who took your call was confusing "right to work", which means you cannot be forced to join a union to get work, with employment at will, which means that either the employer or employee can end the employment relationship at any time and for any reason or no reason. There is one caveat: the employer cannot end the employment relationship for a reason prohibited by law.

      Pennsylvania IS an employment at will state (every state is, except Montana, and even Montana follows the employment-at-will doctrine in some situations). Pennsylvania is NOT a right to work state.
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for the informative reply

        CBG, thank you for clarifying. Yes, the info that I read concerned joining the union. Your post was more to the point.

        I just found this web site today. I find it very interesting to read the questions and replies. Before I became an employer twenty-five years ago I was a ten year employee of a large company. My job was covered by a collective bargaining agreement. I took advantage of the company's tuition aid program and attended a well known university. I took adantage of about 2000 hours of internal company training. Whenever they asked, I packed my bags and attended.

        I left that large company (on good terms) because I felt that my skills and abilities were not utilized to their fullest. I wanted a promotion to management (which the union taught me was a "no no") but I never received it.

        I don't like to "blow my own horn" but I truely am a very skilled engineer in my field of study. I design things, implement those designs and actually make things work!

        Like most entrepreneurs, I thought that my technical talent would be rewarded and that customers would flock to my door. I've learned a lot in the past twenty-five years! A few of the things that I've learned are
        • good employees are hard to find
        • you can't do it alone
        • sales is king
        • hard work is usually but not always rewarded
        • corporate America is a difficult place to play
        • quality is actually free


        I highly value my employees. I try to coach them, teach them and send them to training whenever I can. I want them to know more than I know. Teamwork actually works if you build the right team. Finding and keeping all the right players is the hard part.

        For the first six years that I was in the union, many of my union peers tried somewhat successfully to teach me to hate the guy that signed my paycheck. Fortunately, my parents raised me with better values than that and the last four years that I was in the union I saw things a little clearer. That large company that I worked for was the second highest paying union employer in the area. We had great benefits. We had safe work conditions. Still, most of the guys thought that we were "being screwed".

        Some of the questions that I read on this site remind me of those first six years. It would be great if the knowledge and understanding that I've gained over the past twenty-five years could be imparted to those who believe that a paycheck is an entitlement.

        One of my bosses once told me that all he expected was "a fair day's work for a fair days pay". At the time I did not understand how that simple sentance made so much sense. He wasn't trying to cheat me. He was just stating a fact.

        Today, as I manage my employees and my customers, I often think of that simple statement. Our small company provides safe work conditions, health insurance, paid personal time off, training and as high a paycheck as we can afford. In several instances I've hired employees and paid them more than I was making.

        There are scoundrels out there that call themselves employers. Several of the posts that I've read have offered good advice to those that are working for them, work somewhere else.

        Usually, good employees will find good employers. Some advice to those who are still reading this post, if you think that you are not being treated fairly, evaluate yourself.
        • Are you dependable?
        • Is your work the highest quality that you are capable of producing?
        • Are you honest or do you make certain you use all of your sick days even if you're not sick?
        • Do you show up a few minutes early or just on time?
        • Do you get in line a few minutes early and wait to punch out or do you simply punch out on time?
        • Are you courteous to your fellow employees?
        • Do you get caught up in rumors or do you research the facts before you make statments about your employer?
        • Would you hire yourself?


        Some simple rules to work by:
        1. Is it the truth?
        2. Is it fair to all concerned?
        3. Will it build good will and better frienships?
        4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
        I am not now and have never been a lawyer. I am an employer, a manager and an engineer and as such I am freely offering information which you may find useful. The information is strictly my opinion, is subject to change and is not intended as legal advice. Feel free to use this information at your own risk.

        Comment


        • #5
          Good post PA employer! Good for you.

          I like your parting words. Are you a Rotarian? Because that (whatever else it may be) is the "Four Way Test" for Rotary International.

          Comment


          • #6
            4 Way Test

            Yes, I am a Rotarian; also club Past President. I included those words so that others might recognize the sincerity from which I speak.
            I am not now and have never been a lawyer. I am an employer, a manager and an engineer and as such I am freely offering information which you may find useful. The information is strictly my opinion, is subject to change and is not intended as legal advice. Feel free to use this information at your own risk.

            Comment


            • #7
              I have edited my Club's newsletter for the past seven years. It's a sterling organization! And, I would do business with a Rotarian anytime. Their integrity is guaranteed.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by PAemployer View Post
                • good employees are hard to find
                • you can't do it alone
                • sales is king
                • hard work is usually but not always rewarded
                • corporate America is a difficult place to play
                • quality is actually free

                • Are you dependable?
                • Is your work the highest quality that you are capable of producing?
                • Are you honest or do you make certain you use all of your sick days even if you're not sick?
                • Do you show up a few minutes early or just on time?
                • Do you get in line a few minutes early and wait to punch out or do you simply punch out on time?
                • Are you courteous to your fellow employees?
                • Do you get caught up in rumors or do you research the facts before you make statments about your employer?
                • Would you hire yourself?


                Some simple rules to work by:
                1. Is it the truth?
                2. Is it fair to all concerned?
                3. Will it build good will and better frienships?
                4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
                Love those.

                Welcome, PAemployer!
                Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Excellent post. Glad to have you aboard.
                  The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                  Comment

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