Monday, December 26, 2016
Right To Work: The Perpetual Lie
Now that the Republican party has managed to gain control of both houses of the Kentucky Legislature, they are foaming at the mouth with the desire to pass right to work legislation in Kentucky. Until the recent statewide election, the Kentucky State House was the last Democratically controlled legislative branch in the south. It had been held by Democrats for ninety five years. Now, just as will happen in the US Congress, the Kentucky Legislature will attempt to take as much action as possible which will favor the wealthy and large corporations. Right To Work legislation is a key cornerstone of that effort. It is now, always has been, and always will be a weapon which corporations and the wealthy use to control and restrain the working class.
A very pablum definition of Right To Work, which must have been written by a corporate lawyer states: Right-to-work laws govern the relationship between unions, employees, and employers prohibiting employers or unions from requiring existing employees to join a union or pay union dues. Employers are also not allowed to exclude non-union workers from the hiring process. Many Southern states have long had right-to-work laws, with Kentucky being a notable pro-union holdout.
When the definition above states that "employers are also not allowed to exclude non-union workers from the hiring process", this definition hides the real intent of Right To Work which is exactly opposite to what is stated. The only intent of Right To Work is to allow employers to avoid hiring union workers and to hire as closely as possible to zero union workers. The further, long term intent of Right To Work is to destroy unions, weaken the ability of workers to collectively protect their constitutional rights, and to deprive those workers of those constitutional rights. Right To Work prevents unions from collecting union dues or requiring union membership in a particular place of employment. In the long run, Right To Work kills unions by attrition. On November 18, 2016, a three judge panel of the Sixth Circuit of the US Court Of Appeals issued a decision which reverses a lower court ruling that overturned a local Right To Work ordinance in Hardin County. The labor unions who sued to block the law say they will ask the full appeals court to reconsider the decision. If that fails, Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan said they would likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. With the lengthy process of appeal to US Supreme Court decision, it is highly likely that the Supreme Court will have a new member, appointed by Donald Trump, after the US Senate under the leadership of Mitch McConnell of Kentucky refused to seat the duly appointed Judge Merrick Garland because he was the appointee of President Barack Obama. It is also highly likely that any justice appointed by Donald Trump would vote to uphold Right To Work. It is also likely that Trump might actually make Right To Work an element of a litmus test by which he would choose a justice. The entire refusal to seat Merrick Garland, one of the most qualified judges ever chosen by a sitting president, was an egregious miscarriage of justice. Literally ever blue collar worker in America for the next quarter to a half century is likely to suffer the loss of various and sundry labor related constitutional rights because of that refusal by the US Senate to do their constitutional duty. Workers in Kentucky are highly likely to be among the first in the nation to suffer the loss of those rights. Today there are about twenty five states which have Right To Work laws. Nearly two years ago, Wisconsin became one of the latest states to deprive workers of their rights.
Right To Work weakens unions and removes all immediate incentives for newly hired workers to join a union. Without exception, employers in Right To Work states actively avoid hiring any worker known to support unions and after hiring they discourage employees in all ways possible to prevent their joining any union. Workers in Right To Work states gradually, and sometimes rapidly, lose safety standards, lose paid or unpaid leave days, see further hurdles placed in the process of utilizing sick time, vacation time, and other benefits. Under Right To Work, employees always lose benefits and protections which have always, heretofore, been guaranteed by the US Constitution. Union labor built American industry and gained many important benefits for workers. Those benefits include overtime pay, vacation pay, sick pay, maternity leave, bereavement leave, provision of uniforms by employers, medical insurance, burial insurance, worker's compensation and numerous other benefits. In every Right To Work state, employers continue to push back against labor under the guise of "how tough it is to turn a profit" and work constantly in cohort to take back benefits which may have been a given for decades. The Internet page at this link does an excellent job of exposing and explaining all the lies of Right To Work.
The same website also does an excellent job on another page of discussing the facts about who's behind Right To Work. They list several extreme Right Wing Radical organizations, most of which are funded and controlled by big business, whose sole mission is to promote Right To Work, to spread misinformation and outright lies about Right To Work. The bottom line is that any blue collar worker should always oppose Right To Work. Right To Work is a lie perpetrated by millionaires and corporations in order to deprive workers of the constitutional rights.