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Jun
2014
6

OMGodwin: PA State Senator Compares Unions to Hitler and Putin

Scott Wagner

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While debating a bill, Pennsylvania State Senator Scott Wagner achieved a hyperbolic double whammy of oppressive proportions, comparing labor unions to both Adolf Hitler AND Vladimir Putin. Naturally, the verbal “flourish” sparked outrage from organized labor across the state. As if being under attack from one of the worst governors in the nation isn’t enough. 

The legislation being discussed was a GOP proposal to overhaul public employee pensions and privatize the commonwealth’s wine and liquor system.  Predictably in favor of the bill, Wagner said:

The unions are about power and control. And there are two things that I continue to remember about power and control. There was a gentleman by the name of Hitler, he was about power and control. There’s a gentleman by the name of Putin, who’s across the ocean, that’s about power and control.”

The senator, who before winning a special election as a write-in candidate this January was an anti-union activist and businessman, attended a rally organized by Americans for Prosperity following the debate. Also in attendance were privatization extremist Michelle Malkin and other prominent anti-union lawmakers.  

At the gathering, Wagner touted a version of what organized labor typically refers to as a “paycheck deception” bill. It is currently before the legislature.

Pennsylvania State Education Association president Mike Crossey was understandibly taken aback by Wagner’s Hitler reference:

“This kind of language is shocking, offensive and has no place in public discourse.  It is so disappointing to see a powerful elected official making such an awful comparison. What a terrible example this sets for our children.”

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa added, “I believe those are very dangerous remarks and should be cause for concern for folks as we go forward.”

As the backlash began, Wagner tried to clarify his position:

“I’m not comparing the unions to Hitler and I’m not comparing them to Putin,” Wagner said. “I’m talking about the concept of power and control. … I didn’t say the unions are out killing people.”

Wagner’s entire political career has been built around anti-union rhetoric.  In 2012, when Neshaminy teachers went on strike, Wagner helped fund a smear ad that listed union salaries in the local newspaper:

The $1,600 ad was financed by Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania, a group founded in 2009 by former railroad contractor and Pennsylvania State Rep. John Kennedy (R-Cumberland) and financed by donors like Penn Waste owner Scott Wagner of York County to push for anti-union “right-to-work” laws, limits on plaintiff’s lawsuits against businesses, and state support for private schools.

Wagner is now running for a full term in the 28th district where he recently won the Republican party primary.

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