Senator Scott Wagner plays political games with working people’s livelihoods

More than 500 Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) employees who work at Unemployment Compensation Service Centers will receive layoff notices and work their last day on December 19, due to the State Senate’s inaction on House Bill 2375.

The call to inaction was led by State Senator and owner of Penn Waste Scott Wagner of York, Pa.  Wagner proudly proclaimed that he “dug his foot in” to stop HB 2375 from reaching Governor Tom Wolf’s desk, going on to say “let them (the service centers) close down.”

And the Senate did just that by not passing the bill and simply heading home for the holidays. While they enjoy Christmas with their families, hundreds of L&I workers will not have the same luxury as their source of income has been swept out from under them with these closures.

Wagner’s disdain for state employees is nothing new. In an email blast regarding HB 2375, the Senator managed to take a shot at Council 13 members’ recently ratified contract with the Commonwealth, saying “Governor Wolf did not have a problem finding money this past August to give almost 30,000 state employees wage increases.”

Not only does Wagner allow state employees to be scapegoats for budgetary issues created by the legislature that he is a part of, but he goes on to use Wolf as a scapegoat for the call centers closing down, saying “Governor Wolf and his Budget Secretary know where to find money to continue to fund the call centers.”

Scott Wagner, and Senators like him, made the choice to close the call centers and layoff hundreds of people. Now that they have, Wagner is blaming his potential 2018 opponent for it. He was sure to remind folks through his email blast that “in 2018, taxpayers of Pennsylvania get to hold Governor Wolf accountable and elect him out of office.”

While Wagner capitalizes on this issue for his political ambitions, hundreds of families are trying to figure out what they are going to do for the holidays and new year.

Most of the employees affected by this are represented by SEIU, and others are represented by AFSCME. Regardless of who their union is, Council 13 stands with these workers and intends to do everything in our power to make this right. Council 13 members should watch their email inboxes closely for a call to action. We will never quit in the face of this, or any, injustice.