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Recognizing Right to Work (for Less) and Other Attacks on Workers

Legislative sessions are gearing up all over the country.  In Indiana, the first thing radical republicans took aim at were rights of workers, immediately attempting to pass a Right to Work for Less bill; and here in Missouri we have a number of different versions of Right to Work for Less which have already been filed in addition to other egregious attacks on workers like Kinder's and other radicals' attempt to eliminate the Prevailing Wage.  Of course there were last year's fights in Wisconsin over collective bargaining and Ohio's defeat of Senate Bill 5 which would have eliminated a significant number of workers' rights.

This past weekend, the New York Times had an excellent, must-read article regarding Right to Work for Less, striking at the heart of the issue of these sorts of attacks on workers: bad economics and cynical politics.

Attacking workers and their rights isn't about jobs, it's not about boosting the economy, it's not about solving the budget issues our states face.  No.  Attacking workers and attempting to pass bills like Right to Work for Less, Paycheck Deception and an elimination or suspension of the Prevailing Wage is about politics and silencing workers in the political arena.

Continuing Assault on Unions

Along with their shameful campaign to curb the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers in Wisconsin and Ohio last year, Republicans in statehouses around the country are taking aim at private sector unions. [...]

Many Republican leaders are adopting model legislation proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a national corporate-financed conservative organization that is also assisting the Republican push to require voter identification cards to suppress the vote of minorities, young people and other constituencies that tend to favor the Democratic Party.

There is little doubt that politics is also behind the Republicans’ push for right-to-work laws: they see an opportunity to further weaken unions, which are far more likely to support Democrats — as well as health care reform and a higher minimum wage — by slashing their funding and their donating power.

The G.O.P. and its allies, like the Chamber of Commerce and brethren organizations, are trotting out the charge that unions reduce economic growth and jobs. [...]

Unionized workers earn more and get more generous benefits. In 2010, wages of workers in unionized manufacturing companies in Indiana were 16 percent higher than in nonunion plants. One study concluded that the decline in unionization since the 1970s is responsible for one-fifth to one-third of the growth in inequality in this country. Voters, unionized or not, should recognize the new “right to work” push for what it is: bad economics and cynical politics.

Emphasis added.



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