SEIU Harms Pennsylvania

SEIU Harms Pennsylvania

SEIU Harms PennsylvaniaBy Sen. Scott Wagner 

Last week, I described the power of the largest public sector union in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, also known as the PSEA.

Now, I will tell you about another public sector union that also represents Pennsylvania state employees.

This public sector union is the Service Employees International Union, also known as the SEIU.

I have reported in past email blasts about the layoffs of employees from the Department of Labor and Industry’s (L&I) Unemployment Call Centers and the issues surrounding the call centers.

The call center employees laid off were represented by the SEIU union.

On Feb. 28, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a budget hearing with L&I, at which time the Secretary of L&I, Kathy Mandarino testified.

She commented on the layoffs and issues at the call centers and how callers to the call centers were either having their calls not answered or experiencing long wait times and that paperwork was not being processed in a timely manner.

Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) asked Secretary Manarino  if “all hands were on deck” and specifically, were managers and supervisors assisting with answering telephones and processing paperwork?

Secretary Mandarion responded that L&I has, “collectively bargained contracts” in place that prohibit managers and supervisors from performing  the work that is performed by union represented workers.

Senator Pat Browne (R-Allentown) then asked Secretary Mandarino some questions which she responded with this statement – “we have a situation where the patient is laying on the gurney bleeding to death and we must do something.”

In simple terms, the patient is on the gurney bleeding to death and only unionized employees can stop the bleeding, and managers and supervisors cannot do anything to stop the bleeding because there are collectively bargained labor contracts in place. 

What I have just described is the power of a public sector union in Harrisburg – and there are many more public sector unions in Harrisburg so the issue of who can do what task is widespread.

I am curious – when I am the Governor of Pennsylvania, if I were to want to work in an Unemployment Call Center answering telephones or to process paperwork so I could learn first-hand how things worked in the call centers, would the SEIU union attempt to stop me from performing these tasks?

One of the management styles that I use every day in my private sector business world is to manage by walking around and talking to people and asking questions. 

It is not uncommon in the private sector at times when businesses have seasonal business surges, or an emergency situation arises, that managers and supervisors pitch in to help people who compete a task each and every day to meet the needs of their customers.

I have continually reported that the public sector unions have a choke hold on Harrisburg and this email pretty well tells the story of the power of these unions in Harrisburg.

Something needs to change in Harrisburg or Pennsylvania will never move forward.

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

SEIU Harms Pennsylvania

Desperate PSEA Responds To Sen. Wagner

Desperate PSEA Responds To Sen. Wagner 

By Sen. Scott Wagner

I have repeatedly expressed that the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), is the number one public sector union that opposes any type of reform in Harrisburg, particularly pension reform and school tax elimination. 

Apparently as a result of yesterday’s email blast, I have gotten the PSEA’s attention.

Last evening, with the click of a button on a computer keyboard, the PSEA sent an email blast to their 180,000 teacher members.

The email sent out by the PSEA is shown at the end of my email.

When you read the email sent out by the PSEA, it clear to see that the PSEA is trying to raise money for their left-wing, anti-children political agenda by attacking me and one of my colleagues, Senator John Eichelberger, by telling their members inaccurate information. 

I need your help to fight the PSEA Union Bosses who are blocking critical reforms that need to take place in Harrisburg.

Every single day, I hear from people that their number one concern is about school taxes on real estate. Last evening, I held a tele-townhall meeting and 90 percent of the questions I received were questioning what we are doing in Harrisburg to solve this large problem.

Let me crystal clear…

The PSEA Union Bosses are against any effort to eliminate school taxes on real estate.

The PSEA Union Bosses are opposed to any pension reform.

The PSEA Union Bosses are against paycheck protection, which is the deduction of union dues from teacher paychecks.

The PSEA Union Bosses are against the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

Governor Wolf and the PSEA Union Bosses have a very strong relationship with each other.

The PSEA was the largest contributor to Governor Wolf’s campaign when he ran for Governor.

The PSEA has to be stopped and I will lead the fight against the PSEA, so that we are able to enact reforms in Harrisburg that benefit the taxpayers, not the PSEA union machine. 

Here is what the PSEA sent regarding me:

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Desperate PSEA Responds To Sen. Wagner

PSEA Corrupts Pennsylvania, Teachers Would Quit It If Able

PSEA Corrupts Pennsylvania, Teachers Would Quit It If Able

PSEA Corrupts Pennsylvania, Teachers Would Quit It If Able By Sen. Scott Wagner

I have reported over the last several years in my email updates the power public sector unions have in Harrisburg and that these unions are essentially running Pennsylvania because of their power and influence.

There are two distinct types of unions: private sector unions and public sector unions. 

The first union group would be private sector unions, commonly known as the trade unions.

Trade unions represent electricians, plumbers, steelworkers, bricklayers, carpenters, equipment operators, steamfitters, and glass installers – mainly construction related workers.

The second union group would be classified as public sector employee unions.

Public sector unions represent school teachers and government workers.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association, commonly known as the PSEA, represents approximately 180,000 Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers throughout Pennsylvania.

Two other public sector unions that represent workers at the Department of Labor and Industry, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Protection are the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, commonly known as AFSCME, and the Service Employees International Union, commonly known as the SEIU union. 

The PSEA represents approximately 180,000 K-12 school teachers in Pennsylvania. Each teacher pays approximately $800 per year in union dues to the PSEA.

Therefore on an annual basis, the PSEA collects approximately $144 million from 180,000 school teachers.

It is hard to know exactly how much of the $144 million is used for political purposes in Harrisburg and how much is used for bargaining and representation of the teachers.

I have seen first-hand the amount of money spent on political contributions to House and Senate members in Harrisburg and the amount spent on lobbying.

Penn Live reported in May of 2016 that $500 Million Dollars was spent on lobbying in 2015. Click here for the article:

The PSEA is the most powerful union in Harrisburg and to collect approximately $144 Million Dollars per year in dues makes the PSEA a very large enterprise.

At PSEA headquarters in Harrisburg there are several hundred employees that are paid by the teacher dues collected. 

 The best way to describe the PSEA’s headquarter in Harrisburg would be to say that this is where the PSEA Union Bosses have their offices.

There are many great teachers throughout Pennsylvania who do an excellent job of teaching our children and would rather not be a member of the PSEA, but they do not have a choice, and if they had the choice a large majority of teachers would elect not to pay dues to the PSEA.

The PSEA is also a member of the National Education Association commonly known as the NEA, and the PSEA pays dues to the NEA.

The NEA is based in Washington D.C. and had a budget of more than $341 million for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The operation of the PSEA and the NEA are large enterprises; just think that there are 49 other states in America that have teachers unions also that collect dues from their members.

It would be safe to say that teachers in schools throughout America pay several billion dollars in dues combined to teachers unions. 

Teachers unions have become big businesses and yield extreme power over their members and in the states they operate.

Some quick research reveals that the NEA actually is very clear that they represent teachers and do not represent the children because the children do not pay dues.

 Click here for three articles:

 In the above articles, NEA officials actually make statements – “It’s Not About Kids, It’s About Power” and “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”

These are very powerful statements that make it crystal clear that union bosses at state levels and the national level are in the game for power and money, and not the children.

It is unfortunate because a large majority of the school teachers in Pennsylvania do care about their students and would drop out of the PSEA if they had a choice but they don’t have that choice because of the power of the PSEA.

The PSEA  uses teacher dues collected to fight every effort that would result in solving the pension crisis and any initiative to eliminate school taxes on real estate in Pennsylvania.

In order for the teachers in Pennsylvania to stop being represented by the PSEA, it would require a decertification effort, initiated by a single teacher or group of teachers, but the PSEA will never let that happen, because the PSEA is all about power and money. 

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

PSEA Corrupts Pennsylvania, Teachers Would Quit It If Able

Unions Play Political Game With Call Centers

Unions Play Political Game With Call Centers

By Sen. Scott Wagner

Unions Play Political Game With Call Centers
Sen. Scott Wagner

I reported last week that the Senate Appropriations committee was holding budget meetings this week. 

This past Tuesday (Feb. 28), a hearing was held with the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) at which time Kathy Mandarino, the Secretary of L&I testified.

Most of the questions asked by members of the committee were centered around the closings of the Unemployment Compensation Call Centers and layoffs of call center employees.

Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster County) asked, since we are being told that calls were going unanswered or delayed, are “all hands on deck” using supervisors or middle management people to help answer calls or process paperwork?

In the private sector, the term “all hands on deck” is used during surges in call volume or when extra labor is needed during certain times such as a snow storm, a tornado, and or flooding or some other type of crisis or emergency situation.

Also in the private sector, during certain times of the year a business may experience extreme surges in their business volume and it is a common practice for many other employees, such as managers and supervisors, to help out in specific departments, instead of hiring additional people. 

Secretary Mandarino responded that since most of the call center employees were covered by a collectively bargained union contract that supervisors or upper level managers cannot perform collectively bargained work.

Senator Patrick Browne (R-Lehigh County) asked during his round of questioning for more specifics and Secretary Mandarino described the call center issues as bad as a “patient bleeding on a gurney.”

That response made me laugh – so if the patient is bleeding to death, only unionized employees covered under a collectively bargained contract can work to stop the bleeding and save the patient and non-unionized employees have to stand by and watch the patient bleed to death.

Seems reasonable as long I am not the patient. 

Since the layoffs, my Senate office has received numerous calls from laid off workers – and we have helped every one that needed assistance to get benefits. You probably won’t be surprised to find out that many of those calls came from outside of my Senate district – and were prompted to call by Democrats and union bosses.

 There are many hardworking people working for the Unemployment Compensation system here in Pennsylvania. It is a tragedy that they are required to pay dues to a union that has done nothing but make their job harder and use them to play political games. 

If you recall over the last several years, I have reported that it is the public sectors unions that are running Harrisburg – the Unemployment Compensation Call Center situation is a great example – the two public sector unions that represent call center employees are the SEIU – Service Employees International Union and AFSCME – American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

I think you get the point of who is running Harrisburg – the public sector unions.

Stay tuned for more details of how the public sector unions have gained so much power and influence in Harrisburg – I will be sending an email next week.

Harrisburg & Public Sector Unions – the gift that keeps giving and taking!

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Unions Play Political Game With Call Centers

Ridiculous Public Pensions Fueled By Inflated Compensation

Ridiculous Public Pensions Fueled By Inflated Compensation

Ridiculous Public Pensions Fueled By Inflated CompensationBy Sen. Scott Wagner

The Pennsylvania State Senate held budget hearings, Feb. 23, and one of the agencies that testified in front of the Appropriations Committee was the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). 

PASSHE oversees the 14 state-owned universities which are:

1.  Bloomsburg University

2.  California University

3.  Cheyney University

4.  Clarion University

5.  East Stroudsburg University

6.  Edinboro University

7.  Indiana University

8.  Kutztown University

9.  Lock Haven University

10. Mansfield University

11. Millersville University

12. Shippensburg University

13. Slippery Rock University

14. West Chester University

The Chancellor of PASSHE appeared in front of the Appropriations Committee to answer questions.

One of my Senate Colleagues asked what the average salary was for a university professor – the Chancellor responded that it is approximately $85,000.

When it was my turn to ask questions I focused on his response of $85,000.

I stated to the Chancellor that this week did several stories on people employed by the state making more than $100,000.

I went on to tell the Chancellor that in the PennLive story there was reference to the swim coach at West Chester University who earned total compensation of $313,954 in 2016. And by the way, this same coach earned $420,172 in 2015.

I continued to walk the Chancellor through the compensation for the swim coach – his base salary was $77,285 and the rest of his compensation was additional income earned running summer swimming camps.

Then I asked the Chancellor this question:

When the swim coach retires will his pension be based on his base salary or his total compensation?

The Chancellor responded that it depends which pension program he is in.

Here is where my brain goes into overdrive.

I went on to say that if the pension is based on his base salary that may be reasonable, but if his pension is based on his total compensation – which I think will be the case here – that means a swim coach making over $300,000 per year could potentially get two thirds of $300,000 which is $200,000 per year for the rest of his life. 

I will research the answer to this question and get back to you with the answer. 

The $64,000 question is this –  Am I right or am I wrong?

Click on the links below to view the stories.

The story referencing the West Chester swim coach is in the second story. 

One in 14 State Government Employees Made the $100,000 Club Roster in 2016

Meet the State Employees Who Had the Highest Earnings in 2016: $100,000 Club

We will have the answer next week.

I want to introduce another slogan:  “Harrisburg and State Government – the gifts that keeps on giving.”

Ridiculous Public Pensions Fueled By Inflated Compensation

Scott Wagner Explains Gubernatorial Run

Scott Wagner Explains Gubernatorial Run

By Sen. Scott Wagner

I am a small business owner from York, PA.

I have been a private sector business owner for almost forty years. Scott Wagner Explains Gubernatorial Run

Several of my businesses I have started from scratch.

I was not handed these businesses, nor did I come from a wealthy family.

Today at my various companies we employ hundreds of hard working, middle-class people.

In August of 2013, I decided to run for a seat in the PA State Senate.

Due to a groundswell of people in York County who knew me and believed in me and were fed up with the status quo, I was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate in March of 2014 as the first ever write-in candidate to win a seat in the Pennsylvania legislature.

History was made on March 18, 2014 in York County. 

My decision in 2013 to run for a seat in the PA State Senate was based on four reasons.


I was tired of being used like an ATM machine by career politicians who were all talk and no action.


My companies were being choked by massive regulations.


As a business owner, I was tired of being treated like a criminal by the government. Every time personnel from a federal or state agency would come to my businesses without an appointment and unannounced it was clear they were visiting our businesses to find us doing something wrong so they could fine us.


As the leader of my companies, I felt our employees and their families weren’t being properly represented in Harrisburg and protected from out of control government.

People at our various companies clock in early in the morning, hit the streets and service our customers. At the end of the day, they clock out and then go home to their families. Because of these people and their efforts, I felt strongly that they needed representation.

I have been in the PA State Senate for almost three years and I see first- hand how out of control and dysfunctional Harrisburg really is.

When I went to Harrisburg I knew things would be bad – they are in fact much worse than I envisioned. 

The current dysfunction has been the result of 30-40 years of doing the same things over and over and allowing special interest groups to become way too powerful and influential.

Shortly after I joined the State Senate in Harrisburg I was part of the leadership change.

Major reform bills that never saw the light of day under the previous Senate leadership are finally getting voted on due to the willingness of Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman allowing these bills to go to the floor for a vote.

I can report to you that I have seen progress over the last two years in Harrisburg.

Things are starting to move in the right direction.

However, there is a major roadblock that is preventing many reforms from taking place.

The roadblock I am talking about is Governor Tom Wolf.

Tom Wolf campaigned that he was private sector business person and could turn Pennsylvania around. 

Truth be told Tom Wolf was a sixth generation business owner – so that means he was six generations away from starting from scratch.

Tom Wolf promised to lower taxes, create new jobs and that he would change the way Harrisburg does business.

Last week Pennsylvania’s gas tax went up another eight cents per gallon.

If you didn’t know this fact – Pennsylvania’s gas tax is the highest in the nation.

What has Governor Wolf done about the gas tax – he has done nothing.

Instead of changing Harrisburg, Tom Wolf has been the guardian of special interest groups in Harrisburg.

Under Governor Wolf, Pennsylvania’s financial condition continues to get worse, unemployment is up and Pennsylvanian’s are becoming more frustrated.

It is very simple.

Governor Wolf is a failed Governor.

He failed to lower property taxes as promised instead property taxes skyrocketed under Wolf.

He failed to control wasteful spending and actually made it worse.

He failed to solve the pension crisis.

He failed the schools and children of Pennsylvania by having the longest budget shutdown in history.

He failed to get Pennsylvania’s economy moving again, instead unemployment increased to the highest in the northeast region.   

 Tom Wolf is a failed Governor and it’s time for him to go.

 That is why today, I am officially announcing my candidacy for Governor of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is at a crossroads.

Pennsylvania has a pension crisis.

Property owners are choking on ever increasing school taxes on their properties.

Unemployment is up.

Pennsylvania’s economy is stalled.

Pennsylvania’s businesses are choking on regulations.

It is make or break time.

I am very different from Governor Wolf.

I grew up on a farm.

I shoveled horse manure at age 10.

I learned how to repair every piece of used farm equipment we owned.

I was raised by parents who taught me how to work hard and never give up.

I started several of my businesses from scratch.

I have been through at least five recessions – my first recession was in 1980 when the prime interest rate went up to 22%. I almost did not financially survive the 1980 recession.

But I am a survivor.

At my first waste company, I drove the garbage trucks and loaded garbage into the trucks.

I cleaned the toilets and still do today if they need cleaned.

I would never ask anyone who works with me to do a task that I would not do myself.

I still have my CDL license and I can drive any piece of equipment in our various fleets.

I understand operations inside and out. 

We need a Governor who understands operations.

Pennsylvania is a unique state – within 24 hours we can reach one-third of our nation’s population.

Pennsylvania has a great work force – in fact we need more skilled labor to meet future demands.

Pennsylvania should and can be an economic powerhouse.

In February of 2015, Governor Wolf stated at a National Governor’s Association conference that “the biggest problem in Pennsylvania is low self-esteem.”

Trust me Governor Wolf, the hard-working middle class people throughout Pennsylvania are very proud of what they do, they do not have a self-esteem problem.

Since Governor Wolf took office, Pennsylvania’s unemployment has increased.

We have Pennsylvania state agencies’ that are not operating in a fashion to help businesses grow and prosper.

Many of the state agencies do not understand customer service and deadlines.

I have seen first-hand that Pennsylvania does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending problem.

I have served almost three years in the Senate – I feel powerless.

The number one person driving the agenda is the Governor, not the legislature.

We have the largest majorities in the legislature than we have had in a long time – in fact today, the PA Senate has a majority not seen for almost 70 years.

As long as we have a Republican majority in the legislature and Tom Wolf is in the Governor’s office we are going nowhere.

Pennsylvania desperately needs a Governor who has extensive leadership skills and understands how operating a business really works.

Pennsylvania needs a Governor who is a visionary to see the future and build a team to lead Pennsylvania to be a powerhouse again.

We are running out of time to turnaround our great state, out of control spending, zero accountability, the pension crisis, school taxes, an aging population, a skilled labor crisis and too many special interest groups getting the whole pie instead of hard working middle class Pennsylvanian’s getting a piece of the pie.

To all Pennsylvanian’s, and I say all Pennsylvanian’s, I want to be your next Governor.

I have the skills to lead – I possess visionary skills to see what the future can look like.

 Get government off the backs of businesses and I can assure you that Pennsylvania businesses will create jobs without government interference.

The last time I checked businesses drive everything – we pay our employees – we both pay taxes and fees to the government and because of that fact government employees get paychecks.

As Governor, I will make this pledge to you – I will do everything in my power to change the status quo in Pennsylvania.

I will do everything in my power to jump start our economy.

I will do everything in my power to solve the pension crisis and lower or eliminate school taxes.

The primary election and general elections are in 2018 – so I am out early.

I ask that you learn more about me – check me out – learn as much as you can about me.

For the first time in modern history, the citizens of Pennsylvanian have an opportunity to elect a Governor who has built several prominent and successful, private sector, small businesses from scratch. 

I am not a career politician, or an attorney, and I do not have a PHD.

If you are truly fed up with Harrisburg and want real change, I am asking for you to vote for me in 2018.

One of my favorite slogans that I learned in my business career is that “TEAM” stands for – “Together Everyone Achieves More.”

Today, I am asking ALL Pennsylvanians to join the Scott Wagner for Governor Team so that Pennsylvania can finally achieve more.

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Scott Wagner Explains Gubernatorial Run

Scott Wagner Hint

Scott Wagner Hint — Pennsylvania State Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28) has come as close to confirming a 2018 gubernatorial as possible without specifically stating so.

We received, today, Dec. 22, the below email.

One of the main reasons that I decided to run for the Pennsylvania State Senate was because I was tired of being an ATM machine for politicians who did nothing and got zero results. 

After a few years in office we have accomplished A LOT, much in part because of your help and steadfast support.  

Even the media has taken notice of our results and how we have been successful in making Harrisburg more accountable to the people they serve.

Check out a video and news article on the link below which details the progress we have made in Pennsylvania in only a couple of years.

We are on the right track but have much more work to do. 

Stay tuned for a BIG announcement early next year. Hint Hint.

Thanks for your continued support and Happy Holidays!

SEIU Abandons Members, Backs Scrooge Wolf

SEIU Abandons Members, Backs Scrooge Wolf

By Scott Wagner

SEIU Abandons Members, Backs Scrooge Wolf
Scrooge Wolf

There are two different types of unions operating in Pennsylvania – public sector unions and private sector unions.

Public sector unions represent government employees and other workers such as school teachers.

Public sector unions in Pennsylvania include the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), and  the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

One of the largest public sector unions is the school teachers’ union. The Pennsylvania State Education Association, also known as the “PSEA”, representing approximately 180,000 members.

Members of the PSEA union pay annual dues of approximately $800 to $1,000. This money is, by law, deducted from every employees paycheck.

From union dues alone, the PSEA is collecting between $140 million  and $180 million annually.

Is anyone else scratching their head wondering what the PSEA does with all of the dues money collected from members?

The second union group is private sector unions, also known as “trade unions.”

These trade unions represent carpenters, plumbers, electrical workers, brick layers, and steamfitters, to name a few.

There is huge difference between public sector unions and private sector unions.

Public Sector Unions, also known as government unions, negotiate over tax dollars, which are viewed as an endless source of revenue. Government union leaders can, and do, constantly seek more taxpayer money for their own benefit.

Private sector unions negotiate over company profits, meaning when the company is not profitable, the union recognizes that and negotiates accordingly.

As you can see, the source of revenue is very different for each of these groups.

Over the last few weeks, the issue of furlough for over 500 state employees at various Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Call Centers has been a front and center issue.

Many people have weighed in with their opinions on who exactly is to blame for these furloughs; Governor Wolf or the state senate.

Frank Sirianni, president of the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council is quoted in an article by Chris Comisac from  Capitol Wire saying:

“In all reality, they don’t have to cut there,” said Frank Sirianni, president of the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council about the planned UC call center closures. “They can cut somewhere else – they’re doing that because it’s a high leverage point, and they can leverage other people with it.”

SEIU Abandons Members, Backs Scrooge Wolf
This flyer was distributed by union leadership regarding the pending layoffs of state workers. Note how it doesn’t mention Gov. Wolf who could stop the job losses with a wave of a pen.

At a state office building union representatives, Wednesday, Dec. 7, were handing out a flyer that references me.

I have repeatedly stated that the SEIU, which represents the workers of the Unemployment Compensation Call Centers, should use the union dues they have collected from their members to put together a plan of legal action to block the closure of the call centers.

In addition to losing their jobs, the effected call center employees will have their benefits terminated at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 19. Why haven’t their union representatives stepped in and offered to cover the cost of the health insurance for  their members for the next six to 12 months?

If asked these questions, the union will respond and say that they do not have the money to file legal action or to cover the cost of the employees health care for a few months. What happened to all the dues money that was collected from these call center employees?

According to “How Union Bosses Sold Out Their Workers” by Real Clear Politics — published the day the flyer was being distributed —  $100 million–  money collected from their members —  was spent on political races in support of losing candidates.

Just think how much health insurance coverage could be provided to these union dues-paying members with that $100 million.

As of right now, It appears that Gov. Wolf is going to allow the layoffs to take place. It also appears that the SEIU union will be not assisting their members.

It is very unfortunate that Gov. Wolf is laying off the call center workers on Dec. 19, just six days short of Christmas.

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

SEIU Abandons Members, Backs Scrooge Wolf


Unemployment Calls Center Closings Political Game

Unemployment Calls Center Closings Political Game

By Sen. Scott Wagner

Unemployment Calls Center Closings Political GameContained in this column is a response letter that I submitted to the York Daily Record regarding the closing of state Unemployment Compensation Call Centers.

Very simply put – it is time to “Drain the Swamp in Harrisburg.”

I am completely sympathetic toward the union employees affected by this political game orchestrated by Governor Wolf.

Last month I met a Maryland State Senator and she was asking me how I liked being an elected official.

I told her a few stories of the waste, fraud and abuse that I see every day in Harrisburg and how powerless I see our Legislature when it comes to out of control spending.

She made a statement to me which cut right to the center of the problem in Government, whether in Harrisburg or Washington, DC.

The Senator stated, “The real problem in government is the career bureaucrats who work in government as a full career. They watch elected officials come and go and most times have an attitude that we have to put up with certain elected officials until they move on or get out of government. These career bureaucrats are the belly of the beast.”

How true is that statement ?

Trust me on this – the people who elected me are the real patriots. I am honored that the voters trusted me. I can assure you on this point – I will not stop until the swamp is drained in Harrisburg. I am on my way to the scuba shop to get the gear necessary to go down in the water, find the drain, and drain the swamp.

There are billions of dollars being wasted in Harrisburg – it is time to hold people accountable.

Below is the letter.

I am writing in response to Carl Huber’s letter to the editor (“Scott Wagner playing Scrooge this holiday,” Nov. 28).

Unfortunately, the call center employees have become political hostages of Gov. Wolf – so don’t blame me or my senate colleagues.

I was elected as a Pennsylvania state senator to do a job. I am expected to do my job. I will not be a rubber stamp for waste, fraud and abuse in Harrisburg.

There is an alarming amount of taxpayer money being wasted in Harrisburg. I see it first-hand every day. This project was fed approximately $240 million over the last four years with zero accountability. Now the senate is being pressured into throwing another $57.5 million down a black hole without any questions being asked.

In 2006, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania signed a $106.9 million contract with IBM to be completed in 2009.

IBM’s contract was to give the state a new computer system to track employee wages, employer taxes, handle unemployment claims, appeals, and payments.

In July of 2013, the state terminated the contract with IBM because it was $60 million over budget. The $60 million was in addition to the $106.9 million initial contract, and it was 42 months late. What happened with this contract? Who was held accountable for the cancelled IBM contract?

Later in 2013, the Legislature voted to allocate $60 million per year for four years, and that ends at the end of this year. This was for the same project that was contracted with IBM and then cancelled.

So let’s recap for taxpayers – $106 million plus another $60 million for IBM.  Add the last four years of $60 million per year for a total of $240 million – all for a grand total of more than $400 million in taxpayer money.

Everywhere I go throughout the state, taxpayers complain to me about the pension crisis, school property taxes, and many other hot button issues such as lack of accountability in Harrisburg. If we don’t stop the waste and abuse of taxpayer money, we will never fix other problems in Pennsylvania.

Without getting into too much detail, there is another project that has wasted almost $1 billion of taxpayer money over the last 10 years, and that is the statewide radio system. Guess what – the statewide radio system doesn’t work!

Gov. Wolf recently terminated the 10-year failed radio contract and re-signed with another company in the last 90 days for another stab at the statewide radio project.

That’s another almost $1 billion wasted. Again, I ask – who is being held accountable?

I have a suggestion for the affected employees at the call centers: Why don’t the union officials who represent you and collect dues from the affected employees at the state call centers that Gov. Wolf is threatening to close look into taking legal action to stop the layoffs and force Gov. Wolf to find funding to keep these employees from being laid off?

Instead of criticizing me or my colleagues in the senate, the unions who represent these affected workers and collect dues from these same workers should step up and fight for them.

Is the relationship between these unions and Gov. Wolf too cozy for them to fight for their members?

To Carl Huber: You are obviously a Democrat by your Republican comment in your letter. As an elected Pennsylvania state senator, I represent Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

Maybe waste and abuse of taxpayer money in Harrisburg is not an issue for you – but I can assure you a large majority of the taxpayers in Pennsylvania are fed up with Harrisburg.

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Unemployment Calls Center Closings Political Game

Petty Wolf Punishes Opponents For Doing Job

Petty Wolf Punishes Opponents For Doing JobPetty Wolf Punishes Opponents For Doing Job

By Sen. Scott Wagner

Last Wednesday, Nov. 16, the Pennsylvania  Senate had one session day in which Senate Leadership for the next legislature session was elected and several bills were considered. One bill that caught my attention was House Bill 2375 which would have amended the Unemployment Compensation Law to provide up to $57.5 million in funding to the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund (SIIF) in calendar year 2017.

The bill clarified that money may be used for technological upgrades to the delivery system for unemployment compensation benefits. A lively discussion took place in the Senate Republican Caucus at which point I learned that four years ago the legislature approved $60 million per year for four years to upgrade the delivery system (computer hardware and software).

Wait a minute – the legislature authorized $60 million a year for four years  which ends on Dec. 31. Over four years the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) was given $240 million and now they want another $57.5 million? I have had enough of zero accountability in Harrisburg. Why wasn’t the project completed on time and why was the Senate expected to vote to give L&I another $57.5 million at the eleventh hour?

Later that afternoon, after the Senate did not vote to give L&I the additional $57.5 million dollars, Governor Wolf issued a press release that he was angered by the Senate’s failure to vote and approve this funding and that call centers may close. Over the next two days, Thursday and Friday, Governor Wolf stated that call centers will close around the state because of the funding issue. Not a surprise to me, Governor Wolf has selected to close call centers that are all in Republican Senate Districts.

In the private sector people would lose their jobs if $240 million was spent to upgrade  a system and then four years later it was still not completed. A good place to start would be to fire the Secretary of Labor and Industry and the managers who failed to deliver the final product. And who does the Secretary of Labor and Industry report to? Governor Wolf.

Why aren’t people being held accountable in Harrisburg?

In 2018, taxpayers of Pennsylvania get to hold Governor Wolf accountable and elect him out of office.

This is another great example of abuse of taxpayer funds, lack of leadership from Gov. Wolf and his unwillingness to hold people accountable. I have had enough.

I have been in Harrisburg since April 2014 and I have witnessed first-hand the financial games being played by Gov. Wolf and his Administration. Trust me when I tell you this, Gov. Wolf and his Budget Secretary know where to find money to continue to fund the call centers.

Gov. Wolf did not have a problem finding money this past August to give almost 30,000 state employees wage increases of almost 12 percent over a 27 month period – based on my calculation these wage increases total over $150 million and were not part of the 2016-17 budget. I serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee and we were not informed of these increased wage costs.

I was elected by voters in the 28th Senate District to do my job – the pension crisis has not been solved, school property taxes continue to increase, roads and bridges are crumbling, and we have the highest state gas tax in the nation – it is time we hold Harrisburg accountable which starts in the Governor’s office.

Stay tuned and watch how Governor Wolf grandstands and turns this issue into a political issue resulting in closing call centers and using state employees as hostages.
Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Petty Wolf Punishes Opponents For Doing Job