MR. McGAHAN: Good morning. My name is Thomas McGahan and I've been a maintenance mechanic for the Philadelphia School District and a member of SEIU 32BJ District 1201 for the last 19 years, and I live in Wissinoming.
I urge City Council to reject the dangerous handy-work legislation that the out-of-state special interest groups are pushing in Harrisburg. As a maintenance mechanic, we are responsible for the heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing systems of the School District buildings. Every day we consistently and reliably maintain the buildings to keep our children safe.
Being a part of the union gives me the voice for the students. My union gives me the protection to speak out to make sure the jobs are done right for the safety of the kids. Keeping our school buildings safe is important to me, for I am a parent of two of the students.
My union helps me keep Philadelphia students safe. I'm proud to pay my dues. I get a say on how my dues are spent, and I am in fact a member of the advisory board of my union, and I choose to give to the union's political clubs to help us have a voice.
I am outraged that such useless bills are being pushed by parts of a manufactured crisis by out-of-state concerns. There is no public outcry that prompts these bills. This legislation is not designed to protect union members. This legislation is designed to protect corporate special interests like the Koch brothers. The main motive of these attacks are the Commonwealth Foundation and the Koch brothers founded ALEC. These are two extreme right-wing groups with dangerous agendas.
We have seen the story before. These groups are the strong supporters of Governor Corbett. They are the same groups that fund the efforts to privatize Social Security and Medicare and oppose -- or support the elimination of a minimum wage.
Philadelphia families have been struggling to make ends meet in the worst economy since the Great Depression. Under Governor Corbett, Pennsylvania is 47th in job creation, but in Harrisburg, the state legislation is following the lead of shady interest groups who want to destroy unions instead of working together to have our economy get back on the right track.
As a union member, School District employee, taxpayer, and parent, I urge Council to take a stand against destructive legislation which will make it harder for us to keep our schools safe.
I would also like to thank Councilman Kenney for taking the lead on this resolution and to my Councilman, Henon, and the other co-sponsors, Councilwoman Reynolds Brown, Councilwoman Blackwell, Councilman Greenlee, and Councilman Squilla, and thank all the Council for standing with the thousands of maintenance workers, nurses, teachers, and public safety workers whose rights are under attack.