Unions call for Yuengling boycott
In response to a statement made Monday by the head of D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. calling for a "right-to-work" law, a local labor union leader is calling for a Yuengling boycott.
"We're against anyone who's for a right-to-work law in this state," Gary Martin, Pottsville, vice president of Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council, said Thursday.
Richard L. "Dick" Yuengling, president and owner of the Pottsville-based brewery, made the statement Monday at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon at the Harrisburg Hilton, according to The Associated Press.
Yuengling said Monday the state would attract more business if it adopted a right-to-work policy that would make it more difficult for unions to organize, according to the AP.
Right-to-work bills prohibit requirements that employees join a union or pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Such bills have languished in the Republican-controlled Legislature, while critics contend the real intent - to bleed unions of money and bargaining power - would destroy the middle class, according to the AP.
There are 24 states that have right-to-know laws. Pennsylvania is one of the 26 "forced-unionism states," according to the National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation website at www.nrtw.org.
"Not one of them has ever proven that that helps the worker," Martin said.
"The average worker in states with 'right-to-work' laws makes $1,540 a year less when all other factors are removed than workers in other states," according to the website for the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations at aflcio.org.
The Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council is made up of 16 regional councils - including the Schuylkill County Building and Construction Trades Council - and more than 115 local unions from 15 International Building Trades Unions.
On Thursday, Martin said he's encouraging a boycott of all Yuengling products.
"We want to support people who support us. So we'll drink Miller and Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon, companies where owners of the companies don't come out and tell people right out they're against labor unions," Martin said.
On Yuengling, Martin said, "We supported this guy. We were part of making him a billionaire. I don't understand what his motives are but he clearly don't care for us."
Yuengling was included earlier this year on a Forbes magazine list of billionaires, but he said Monday that he is not worth a billion dollars.
"I hope union people who live wherever he sells his products think twice before buying them. Maybe they'll just order a different kind of beer," Dennis Keefer, president of the Schuylkill County Building and Construction Trades Council, said Thursday.
Yuengling refused to comment Thursday on Martin's comments.