A lot of people are confused about what exactly Right to Work is which makes sense since the vast majority of Americans aren’t affected by Right to Work legislation.
What is Right to Work?
“Right to Work” legislation defunds unions by saying that union members cannot be required to pay dues as a part of their membership in the union – which sounds really great until you consider that this promotes freeloading.
Moreover, while big business is one of the largest supporters of Republican politics (Koch bros, anyone?), labor unions are one of the biggest supporters of Democratic politics. Defunding unions means less bargaining power, lower membership, and less political clout.
So what’s the big deal? Shouldn’t people have the right to not join a union?
You are not required to join a union in your place of work. It’s optional. However if there is a union at your place of work and you don’t join the union, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t benefiting from their work – so you still pay dues.
Wait. So you still have to pay even if you don’t want to join?
Yes. The union is still representing you to your employer on your behalf. You are still benefiting from their work.
Defunding labor unions is an attack on good jobs and hard-working Americans. The GOP, being in the pockets of big money and corporate America, sees paying workers less and having fewer rights in the workplace as the solution to our current economic woes. If employers can pay less, they can increase profit, maybe even expand operations in the U.S.
As Anne Savage said on Twitter today, “Snyder didn’t sign Right to Work bill so Michigan can compete with Indiana he did it so Michigan can compete with China.”
Corporate America and their GOP cronies are hoping that we’ll forget the advances made by the labor movement during the 20th century. And, you gotta give them credit, if there’s ever a time to do it, it’s during an economic downturn when any job is better than no job. Once we start repealing the advances in labor made during the 20th century, we can start competing with China, India and Mexico for the jobs that we’ve been exporting for the sake of their CEO’s and shareholders’ bottom lines.
Want a history on labor unions? Ezra Klein gave a quick overview last night (12/11) on TRMS.
Bottom line: The GOP is making a strategic attack on unions for their own gain and dressing it up like a Christmas present to working Americans. If the GOP cared about workers’ rights and “freedom”, they wouldn’t have chosen a lame duck session to push the legislation through here in Michigan at a time when no one was expecting it after years of Governor Snyder saying that this sort of legislation is wrong for Michigan.
By the way, Governor. You were right. Right to work is wrong for Michigan.
2014, here we come.