Last time we heard from the Lunch Pail Republicans, they were taking on “Right-to-Work” and its Indianan proponents. Now, the SuperPAC that aims to boost pro-union Republicans has provided support for two members of the Pennsylvania House GOP hoping to keep their moderate voices in the state house.
Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) and Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny) represent working class sections of suburban Philadelphia and Pittsburgh respectively, where they have come under fire from fellow Republicans for refusing to vote against worker interests. According to Jim Sullivan, Chairman of the Lunch Pail Republicans Independent Expenditure Committee:
“The first thing you learn in politics is you learn how to count, and there are Republicans that actually know that people that are their constituents work for a living,”
“They need good wages and benefits so they can actually survive and stay in the middle class, and they go along with our issues.”
The move by the Indiana-based SuperPAC is part of its project to support 14 swing District Republicans, 13 of which are targeted by the DNC in the “Red to Blue” campaign. At a time when unions are under attack, they need support from allies on both sides of the aisle.
“You can look at some of the votes that have taken place concerning Davis-Bacon and PLAs [project labor agreements]. We have 46 Republicans in that caucus support us. What, are we gonna turn our backs on ‘em just because Democrats are supposedly the savior of labor?” Sullivan asked.
Murphy’s willingness to vote on behalf of labor in the working class Pittsburgh suburbs has been used against him by conservative candidates in recent primaries:
Murphy’s strong labor ties actually became a liability for the five-term Congressman earlier this year when he faced a primary challenge from Evan Feinberg. Feinberg repeatedly hammered Murphy’s vote for the Employee Free Choice Act and his positive vote ratings from labor groups. Murphy has also vocally supported laws to crack down on what he says says are egregious violations of trade law violations by the Chinese – another labor priority.
In areas like those represented by Meehan and Murphy, many Republicans work hard jobs for a living. Perhaps the best response to how center-right members of the organized labor community feel about the group can be found in the comments section of the article, where Politics PA reader “Concerned Citizen” writes:
Lunch Pail Republicans. Love it. Great to see a group that will stand up for Republicans who actually know what it’s like to work for a living. Nothing wrong with supporting the workbelt guys and gals who work hard everyday to put food on the table. Congrats to Murphy and Meehan.