Call it ‘Right to Work For Less’

As misnomers go there are few more insidious than so-called “Right to Work” laws — like the one now on its way to enactment in Michigan.

Media Matters is making sense:

“Right-To-Work” Laws Hurt Wages And Benefits For All Workers: Numerous studies have found that wages for both union and non-union workers are lower in states with right-to-work laws. Others have found that workplace safety suffers in right-to-work states, where workers are less likely to secure job safety enhancements beyond federal and state regulations. [McClatchy Newspapers, 2/16/12]

“Right-To-Work” Laws Have Little Impact On Employment Or Economic Growth: The Economic Policy Institute analyzed employment growth in states with and without “right-to-work” laws and found that “the evidence is overwhelming” that “right-to-work laws have not succeeded in boosting employment growth in the states that have adopted them.”

“Right-To-Work” Laws Do Not Give Workers More Rights: Federal law already guarantees that no one can be forced to be a member of a union, or to pay any amount of dues or fees to a political or social cause they don’t support. What right-to-work laws do is allow some workers to receive a free ride, getting the advantages of a union contract — such as higher wages and benefits and protection against arbitrary discipline — without paying any fee associated with negotiating on these matters. [Center for American Progress Action Fund, 2/2/12]

51 thoughts on “Call it ‘Right to Work For Less’”

  1. woo hoo, bill. at 6:39 on last thread you quoted sachs saying

    “America’s political institutions have broken down, so that the broad public no longer holds these elites to account.”

    and then asked

    How do people feel about this?

    well, as you can see from this thread topic a lot of us are caught up just trying to get thru the territory of living and haven’t the means nor time nor the courage (job risk) to take them to account.

  2. Patd and Bill W,

    Spot on both. This so called fiscal cliff is nothing more than a fiscal crossroads. The path we will choose will come down to whether or not we wish for our budgetary decisions to reflect the best instincts of our society or a society that cares only for a few at the expense of many.
    The broken nature of our institutions does not bode well for the many. :sad:

  3. Hi Jace,
    Yes, the tree and decorations are up. I have been enjoying IHEARTRADIO and my local 107.7 non stop Christmas music..
    How’s things going for you and Cheryl? Going to California for Christmas? Happy Holiday’s..

  4. Right to work, at will employee, it’s all the same,
    it’s really just the right to be terminated at any time for any reason. 😕

  5. Jace,
    So true and i can’t believe its happening in my home state.. Republican’s have been in control of the Michigan State houses for years but the fact they have gone this far tells us how weak unions in this country have become.

  6. Ah Tony,

    good on you. 😉 It will be an Arizona Christmas this year, California is coming to us. Can’t wait.
    Cheryl and her students will be doing nine performances in the next eight days, including their annual Christmas concert. Set out the nut crackers and some greenery yesterday, tree next week.
    We usually manage to finish decorating about the 23rd, but over the years we have gotten used to it and kind of like it.
    Thirty five years of collecting Christmas music together, so we have a lot to listen to and we listen a lot! :smile:

  7. Hey Jace, your season sounds Merry…. Glad their all coming to you and you can enjoy your home and music.. Its the simple things in life that count..

  8. Tony, AZ is a right to work state, not surprisingly wages and benefits are fairly low especially in home construction and the like.

    I always thought it funny that in my native WY. another proud right to work state, people always pissed and moaned about the evil nature of unions, but always wanted to be paid relative to the union wage scale that was and remains in effect in the predominately union coal mines of Campbell County.

    Very strange disconnect if you ask me. But then nobody did.

  9. I’m damned if I can understand how the screeching noise can be pleasing to any one.

    bethy, agree with most of what you said at 10:13 last night. sometimes tho’ it’s just a matter of heart that is the difference between a pleasing squeal and an annoying shriek. same analogy goes too for the sounds emanating from pols in critterville.
    have to say that bagpipes most times appeal to me as a squeal of pleasure rather than the screeching drone most folks hear.

  10. Having been a member of the steelworkers in the distant past and a labor lawyer for a few years I have a different take. I didn’t like having to join the union after my first 28 days, and as a school boy I didn’t gain seniority, or the like against regular workers, accumulate pension credits and the like so with the exception of wages and safety rules, I didn’t get some of the benefits of union membership. Right to work laws and at will laws are two different animals. Union members are not subject to at will employment laws if they run counter to the contract they are under. But you can have dues checkoff laws in “at will” states, Nevada being one of them.

    I have noodled this issue many times, and my solution, to allow non-union employment at wages, shifts, etc. negotiated by the employer and employee in shops with union contracts meets an almost universal “not workable” response. Union membership is down to such low levels (kind of paralleling the decline in industrial jobs in the US) that I’m not sure what leverage unions have with lawmakers any more, although to hear the RW tell it, they have huge campaign resources. I’m not sure about that.

    Here’s a blurb from the RTW LDFI that sheds a little light on the subject.

  11. I hope this link works

    It’s a little obscene

    I really enjoyed finding it in my mailbox this morning

  12. Pogo

    I had a completely different school/work experience.
    I worked in a meat packing plant for 29 days..the pay was great the shifts sucked and then we were fired so we couldn’t join the union.

    It was a summer job and I was lucky to get the 29 days but I would have been delighted to be a member of the butchers union….although my job was working the coney cooler which peeled the plastic casings off of hotdogs with a high speed water hose. I also worked the lunch meat line. It was many years before I ever had a hotdog again.

  13. Jace, that’s the rub, isn’t it? Regardless of your philosophical support of or opposition to unions, ultimately for the worker it comes down to dollars. I believe that given the option to work at union negotiated wage rates with dues taken from your pay, or whatever you can agree to with the employer with no dues taken, most workers would go with the higher $$ in their pockets.

  14. Pogo
    Did nothing happen or did you get an error message
    It’s a facebook link.

  15. I don’t think it’s fair to equate union membersip levels with desire to be in a union. A lot of the workforce peopled by union members has been decimated in both the public and private sector.

    We aren’t replacing manufacturing jobs or any “old school” union jobs for that matter. But you can see that a mature workforce that is shifting to the service sector is going to want not just better wages but respect for the work done.

    The unions like everyone else have to move on to where mass employment is taking place.

  16. KC, at the end of the 28 days we had the choice to join the union or find other employment. I got paid well and was willing to take additional shifts, so I did well there. Best run I ever had there was on a July 4th – scheduled to work regular shift at doubletime and a quarter, agreed to a second shift at that pay (doing the very easy mail/bath house job, then agreed to take half of a third shift at triple time – as locomotive helper on third shift (the furnaces were down for relining, so I sat in the cab and slept most of the shift away.) I made out like a bandit that day – the equivalent of 6 day’s pay in 20 hours.

    Truth be told, until the big strike (’74 I think) I never much thought about the union thing as a worker. My dad was asst. plant super (management) and had to drive through the picket line twice a day. He wasn’t a big favorite of the working guys anyway, and things were very tense that summer.

  17. Pogo,

    Absolutely. We all have to make our economic decisions based on what is best for us.

    A union earned dollar spends just as well as a non-union earned dollar. So the choice comes down to which type will you have the most of come pay day.

  18. Pogo

    You were a offense but your experience doesn’t count…:)))

  19. True enough, KC … and my experience shouldn’t be considered typical. Most of us school boys were legacies – some had dads in the union, some didn’t. We were labor gang and got department work only after all the regular labor gangers were assigned. First year guys got to dig, lift, carry and clean for the most part – and in a steel mill, that’s hard work. I was just willing to work extra shifts as long as it wasn’t in the more demanding departments where being tired would make me dangerous to me or others.

  20. I’m glad to say that NH’s legislature had to table it’s right to work bill when our Democratic governor said he’d veto it and they didn’t have the 2/3 vote to override it. My state just elected over 100 Democratic reps that replace Republicans… the tea party people elected in 2010 were a joke. So now the bill is absolutely dead.

    My father worked over 40 yrs in a paper mill. He was a proud union member and made sure his kids knew we could afford some things because of this membership.

  21. It certainly seems as if unions need to add tangible value to both employers and members/potential members.

    Seems to me, one obvious way for unions to do this is for them to assume management of employer contributions to healthcare and retirement benefit accounts for union members.

    By relieving employers of these responsibilities and the potential liabilities accruing from them, increased benefits can be had by union members. One of the biggest benefits will be that members’ benefits will be centrally managed for all employers with ties to the servicing union. Non-members would be SOL.

  22. My father was the boss’s son of a growing construction company. Despite that handicap, he joined the lathers union (lathers were one of the trades in my grandfather’s company) and even was elected president of the union local. Throughout his career which included rising to the top of the corporation as it became a multi-state contractor, he always extolled the positive, enabling role of union labor in the construction industry.

    I was the smart one; I joined the Army. After they got over the shock, Mom and Dad were very proud of me.

  23. Our conservative government has started the annoying habit of naming bills — making them seem less devastating. Turns out they read Republican polling that said If you name a bill something innocuous, no one checks to see if the title is accurate. We’ve had “A Bill To..” for restricting everything from women’s rights, workers’ rights, human rights, democracy watch, religious rights, you name it. When you read the bill, it turns out it generally means the exact OPPOSITE to what the title implies.

  24. flatus, your 11:05 is a very good idea and probably would work under the new healthcare act provisions. at least would help out the small-medium size businesses.

  25. even tho’ carl hiaasen says

    At this point, only shut-ins and the morbidly curious are paying any attention to presidential politics. Everybody else is exhausted

    he wrote about rubio’s recent activities toward that goal and threw in this very viable piece of advice:

    If the guys running the party were smart, here’s what they’d do: They would put Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, in charge of writing an immigration-reform bill that included a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented aliens already living and working in the United States.
    No single act would do more to convince Hispanic voters that the GOP wasn’t innately hostile toward them. That’s crucial because the White House cannot be won by a candidate who scares off Hispanics the way Romney and John McCain did.
    If Rubio could produce an immigration package that passed the Senate and survived the neoconservative outcry in the House, Obama would sign it in a heartbeat. With that under his belt, Rubio would be the clear frontrunner.

  26. another hiaasen goodie from the week before

    A New York businessman named Adam Victor says Kelley offered to help him land a $4 billion natural-gas contract in South Korea, in exchange for a 2 percent commission.
    You might be wondering how a Tampa party maven could credibly present herself as someone who could facilitate an international megadeal. Well, it turns out that Kelley was an “honorary consul” for the government of South Korea.
    Like Forrest Gump, she pops up in the darnedest places.
    Although it was mainly a ceremonial gig, Kelley showcased the honorary consul title on the license plate attached to her silver Mercedes. An $80 million commission surely would have eased those car payments, not to mention that troubled mortgage, but the gas deal went nowhere.
    Last week, South Korea brusquely de-consuled Kelley.

  27. I see Rubio as 30-pct Hispanic and 70-pct reactionary old-style Miami Cuban-American. I don’t perceive him as a vote getter outside of Dade County.

  28. Housekeeping: Bit of a redesign for our blog today. Extra sidebar (on the left) aimed at getting more clicks to advertisers, which are sorely needed, and to better organize user tools for easy access. New sections in the top-of-page menu bar, such as “Stuff” for all of our fun and games, like recipes, plus a page of “Remembrance” for our fallen Trail Mixers. Also, our new Blogroll on the left side. Additions welcome.

  29. Craig, if it helps, I enter Amazon off of your site. Santa takes a detour through Trail Mix to get those gifts out. Merry Christmas…..

  30. and if I may be so bold, the new paperback of my book “Politics of Life” is available for $10.31 on the left sidebar in plenty of time for holiday gifts — and i’ll be happy to send a signature plate to anyone who wants them. Just send your address and any message request to

  31. I bought a copy of “Politics of Life” earlier this year. I’ll vouch: a great gift, even for yourself.

  32. Craig,

    My son the book collector/trader has no Craig Crawfords on his shelf.

    Thinking that it is time to rectify that situation, and especially with a signed copy. Haven’t by chance got a spare first edition sitting around?

    Let me know.

  33. Sorry Jace, publishers give authors very few copies of their own book, and my whopping lot of four freebies now gone. But I can easily send a signature plate to paste in.

  34. Craig,

    That works, let’s get it done. 😉

    Four copies? Really?

    Cheap bastards. Ho, Ho, Ho, giving a whole new meaning to the name Scrooge. 😡

    You should have written a right wing screed, they sell quite well to think tanks and Sarah Pacs. in order to boost sales.

  35. ha, Trump vs. Rove, twitter fight — better than Monday Night Raw

    @realDonaldTrump: “If the Republicans ever want to win a presidential election in the next 30 years they must get rid of @KarlRove. He is useless.”

  36. jace says “Four copies? Really?”

    Yep, my agent tells me the most she ever heard any author getting was Henry Kissinger, who still only got 50 copies.

    Just email me what you need. Happy to oblige.

  37. “ha, Trump vs. Rove, twitter fight — better than Monday Night Raw”

    I wish they would both step into a thundering right cross! 😉

  38. “Yep, my agent tells me the most she ever heard any author getting was Henry Kissinger, who still only got 50 copies.”

    What the Hell? the guy negotiates the worst peace treaty in history and still gets fifty copies?

    Where’s the justice in that I ask you? 😕

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