GOP Governor wannabe Dave Spence clearly doesn't learn from other people's lessons. Late last week, after having to be asked twice, Spence endorsed Right to Work, an attack on workers that Missouri voters have rejected in the past, saying "It’s time we explore it." Now Spence has announced that on June 19, he'll be appearing - at the Ritz, no less - with Ohio Gov. John Kasich who suffered a huge defeat when voters in his state resoundingly rejected SB 5, the union-busting, Right to Work for Less bill that was defeated by a 2:1 margin.
If Spence is confused about what Right to Work is, here is a quick recap.
Right to Work laws drive down wages for all workers, including non-union members, women, and people of color. Workers living in right-to-work states earn about $1,500 less per year than workers in states without these laws and the wage penalty is even higher for women and workers of color. Not only that, workers in right-to-work states are less likely to have health insurance since the rate of employer-sponsored health insurance for workers in right-to-work states is 2.6 percentage points lower than in states without these restrictions. Further, with regards to workers, right to work laws make workplaces more dangerous. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of workplace deaths is 52.9 percent higher in right-to-work states.
If that's not enough to get Spence to change his mind, maybe appealing to his businessman side will:
Right-to-work laws do not improve business conditions in states. Additionally, right to work is not a deciding factor in where businesses locate. In fact, high-tech companies that provide good-paying, American jobs favor states where unions have a strong presence, because unions provide a highly skilled workforce and decrease turnover.
Communities lose jobs when wages are lowered by right to work. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that for every $1 million in wage cuts, the local economy sheds six jobs. Wih regards to creating jobs, right to work laws don't improve the employment rate: eight of the 12 states with the highest unemployment have right-to-work laws. Lastly, according to a report from Ohio University, these laws actually led to a decrease in employment in certain industries.
Now, I have no idea if Spence has seen all this information, but I doubt he cares about the facts. He and the republicans have an agenda which includes attacking workers, especially public workers, and will stop at nothing until laws protecting workers are gutted in the name of business.
Still, inviting Kasich to fundraise and campaign for him is curious. Ever since Kasich's resounding defeat in Ohio, he's never been able to regain his footing in his homestate, and his approval ratings have been in the toilet. So why is Spence having him to com Missouri, a state which has rejected right to work on the ballot and where even our legislative leaders know that it's a no-go in the General Assembly?
Whatever his reasoning, it's downright stupid. What's the point of attacking workers by rolling back their protections on the jobs, decreasing their wages, and increasing the danger at worksites, all of which right to work laws do?