Montgomery County Democratic Committee accuses Lower Gwynedd Township of interfering in public works unionization effort

The Montgomery County Democratic Committee has accused Lower Gwynedd Township of interfering in the the process the township’s public works employees undertook to join the Operating Engineers Union.

According to sources, the employees undertook the process in 2023 and eventually voted against joining the union.

Jason Salus, the chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee, shared that party members from various unions provided members of the party’s executive committee two letters on February 15th from the township to the public works employees regarding the potential unionization. Two days later, the executive committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee, issued a statement that claimed that there was an effort to interfere in the unionization process that involved the township’s elected officials and management.

At the end of 2023, four of the five members of the township’s board of supervisors were Democrats. Danielle Duckett, who is the chair of the board of supervisors, is also the first vice-chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee.

It should also be pointed out that Matt Toomey, who is the recording secretary of the executive committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee, is a business agent of the Operating Engineers Union (the union that the public works employees considered joining).

Below is the statement from the executive committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee:

Dear Members of the Montgomery County Democratic Community,

As members of the Democratic Party, we have many shared values including the right for workers to organize a union.

Recently, employees of the Public Works Department in Lower Gwynedd Township expressed their intention to join the Operating Engineers Union. This decision, a fundamental exercise of their rights, was met with unexpected and documented resistance from the Township’s Board of Supervisors and Management. For one of the most affluent townships in our county to interfere in the union organizing election of their lowest-paid employees is a shocking development.

Let there be no ambiguity, there were letters sent by Lower Gwynedd management to apply pressure in the midst of a union organizing election. This is a direct contradiction to the Democratic Party’s support for the freedom of workers to join a union and earn a family-sustaining wage.

Reflecting on this incident, all elected Democrats, candidates, and community members must reaffirm their commitment to labor and protect the rights of workers to organize. We strongly urge Lower Gwynedd and other municipalities throughout Montgomery County to put forth a collective understanding of the importance of protecting the rights and dignity of every worker.

This letter is not just a statement of our stance; it is a call for unity and action in support of the fundamental Democratic principles of supporting labor, workers’ rights, and the freedom to organize. We encourage our community to stand together for the principles that define us, and turn these principles into action.

In solidarity,

Jason Salus
MCDC Chair
On Behalf of the Executive Committee

We have filed a right-to-know with the township in an effort to obtain any letters that were sent to public works employees.

More to come.

Photo: Lower Gwynedd Township