I know the anti-union folks are good people. I know they go to church, volunteer, make charitable contributions and raise good families. So it remains an eternal mystery why such otherwise good people resort to such deceit in promoting what they misleadingly call "right to work" (RTW) legislation.
Contrary to their claims, what they propose will subject workers to a "right to work for less" and will not increase the job market. Studies by the Economic Policy Institute prove that RTW laws: reduce wages by $1,500 for both union and non-union labor, lower the likelihood that employees get health care or pensions and have no impact whatsoever on job growth.
In fact, we may even lose jobs and manufacturers with RTW. Just look at Oklahoma, which fell into the false promises trap by passing it in 2001. In the 10 years since this devious law went into effect, Oklahoma lost fully one-third of its manufacturing jobs.
Further, the number of new firms coming into the state also dropped by one third, all contrary to the express promises made by business leaders in tricking their way to RTW.
Never miss a local story.
In Kentucky, at the same time that anti-labor forces were crying that RTW was needed to stop businesses from heading south, governors Ernie Fletcher and later, Steve Beshear, were trumpeting our economic success and the billions in new investment and new jobs. (Of course they have a point about losing jobs to the south, but much farther than Tennessee. Instead they must look to Mexico and South America. From 1993 to 2004 Kentucky lost 14,798 jobs due to North America Free Trade Agreement alone.)
Perhaps the biggest deceit is their claim that in non-RTW states, workers are forced to join a union. This is patently false and they know it. As the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, workers in a company whose employees have voted for a union cannot be forced to join it.
What they must do however, per security clauses in collective bargaining agreements, is to pay a fair share fee that contributes to the cost of services provided on behalf of all workers whether or not they belong to the union.
RTW legislation nullifies these security clauses so that non-union workers, who by federal law get all the benefits negotiated by union leaders including wage and benefit increases and grievance processing, don't have to pay their fair share fee.
The pro-RTW chambers of commerce will not allow their own members — all of whom benefit from their services — to escape paying dues, so why do they hypocritically seek such freeloading for Kentucky workers in union shops?
Easy. RTW has nothing to do with helping people, but everything to do with increasing private profit by dividing workers, lowering their morale and thus weakening their bargaining position It certainly has nothing to do with protecting any right to work, which already exists in abundance.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as 'right to work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'work.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining. We demand this fraud be stopped."
So should we all.