Following the recent enactment of H.B. 874 -- now Act 59 of 2015 -- by Gov. Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued a response in Harrisburg regarding the legislation.
Act 59 effectively eliminates a loophole in the Crimes Code that previously prevented law enforcement from intervening in situations involving stalking, harassment and even bomb threats if the perpetrator happens to be party to a labor dispute.
“We applaud Gov. Wolf for signing into law this long overdue, commonsense reform that protects workers and employers from what would otherwise be considered criminal activity,” Barr said. “This new law does not infringe upon union rights. It simply removes a restriction that has prevented law enforcement from effectively working to ensure that all parties -- including union members, workers and employers -- are fairly protected against dangerous criminal behavior at the workplace, in the community and at home.”
Barr also said that it is completely reasonable to expect all citizens, including management and labor, to abide by the law.
“While the vast majority of unions do not engage in such activity, the need for this legislation became glaringly apparent following the 2012 federal indictments and subsequent convictions related to the burning and vandalism of a Quaker church in Philadelphia,” the statement said. “This incident and many others cited in the indictment were preceded by harassing and bullying behavior. Had these exemptions not been in the Crimes Code, local law enforcement and prosecutors may have been able to intervene before these cases escalated to the point of violence and destruction of property.”
Barr concluded by emphasizing the importance of installing safeguards “to allow law enforcement to intervene and send the message that these types of actions will not be tolerated." He believes that this action is crucial to securing justice.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, based in Harrisburg, is the state’s largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors.