Aug 4, 2008

Another tactic to kill middle class set to be launched

Michigan Republicans continue their war on the middle class with its continued push for so-called “Right-to-Work” laws.

Word in Lansing is that Republican Senator Nancy Cassis is set to introduce a bill to establish so called “Right to Work” zones. Republicans have failed to pass a state wide right to work for less law, and a threatened ballot initiative has also failed to materialize. This seems a scaled down assault on the middle and working class that has been ongoing for more than 50 years.

Wizardkitten over at Blogging for Michigan has an excellent take on “right to work for less zones,” and they are similar to tax-advantaged enterprise zones. These laws are meant to simply kill labor unions, roll back workplace protections and depress wages.

RTW bills are before both the Michigan House and Senate, but they continue to remain stuck in committee. In the House, Rep. Jacob Hoogendyk, R-Kalamazoo, introduced House Bill 4454, and Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer, R-Bellaire, introduced HB 4455, both to make Michigan an RTW state. In the Senate, Cassis introduced companion bills, Senate Bills 607 and 608.

Proponents of RTW claim the law would do away with the requirement that workers must be in a union to be employed at a union shop. However, federal law already protects workers who don't want to join a union to get or keep their jobs, and gives workers the right to opt out of a union. But they must still pay union dues. RTW would give them the option of not paying dues while still enjoying the benefits of being in a union.

Unions in RTW states are required by law to defend non-dues-paying members involved in a dispute or charged with a grievance at work, but even those employees do not have to contribute dues. Opponents of RTW say such a provision does not give workers more rights, but instead it weakens unions and their ability to bargain for improved benefits and working conditions, which they call the real intent of RTW. The union, by law, must represent all workers equally.

Workers in RTW states make an average of $5,900 less in annual salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the rate of workplace deaths is 41 percent higher in RTW states, according to the bureau, and 20 percent more workers in RTW states go without health insurance.


Peter said...

So are you saying that people should not have the right to work?

What about secert ballots when it comes to voting for or against a Union?

Communications guru said...

People have the right to work, and they also have the right not to join a union. The so-called Right to Work law is just a way to kill unions.

As for secret ballots, you are talking about the federal Employee Free Choice Act. The bill would allow employees at a worksite who want a union to simply sign a card clearly indicating support for a union, and the company is required to recognize the union. Under the current law, if the threats and actual firings and intimidation don’t work and the majority of the workers sign up for the union anyway the company can simply veto that decision and call for an election.

It simply levels the playing field for workers. Employers can still make employees go to mandatory meetings and listen to anti-union propaganda and threats the company will close if it unionizes.

Brett said...

There are 22 states with Right To Work laws. They are all different. There is no blanket law that covers each state.

Right now, people have the right to not join the union, however, they must still pay union dues. Under the Right to Work, they have the option to not join the union and NOT have to pay for union dues.

You're wrong on your last point. Employers cannot make employees to attend mandatory meetings and listen to anti-union speak and threats that the company will close if unions move in. They can make their management teams attend meetings, but again, they are not supposed to make threats against unions, but they can point out the options to the management people.


Communications guru said...

You may be correct in that 22 states have so-called “right to work laws,” and they are all different. But they all have one goal in mind: to kill union and and hence the middle class.

They must still pay union dues because the union must still defend them in a workplace dispute, and they also benefit from the work of the union. They should not get something for nothing.

Employers certainly can and do make employees attend mandatory meetings and listen to anti-union speak and threats that the company will close if unions move in. Again, this simply levels the playing field slightly, but employers still hold all the cards.

Peter said...


Are you saying you are for open elections, no secrecy?

Are you saying your are not for a the private voting process.

That all votes should be public, every last one. You can not just pick and choose.

If so I would assume you are for every single meeting within a the union must be recorded and put out for the company to listen to and the public to know what they are saying.

Communications guru said...

It’s very clear what I am saying. I support the federal Employee Free Choice Act.

Brett said...

Imagine that. A man starts a business and hires people to work for him and he's got the power to fire them if they don't do the job they were hired to do.

Businesses aren't started to serve their employees. They are there to serve their consumers.


Communications guru said...

No one ever said an unsatisfactory employee can’t be fired.

Peter said...


Are you for every single meeting within a the union must be recorded and put out for the company to listen to and the public to know what they are saying.

Yes or No would suffice

Communications guru said...

Why? If you have a point, try and make it.

Peter said...

CG it is a simple question and my point is determined by your answer.

So I ask you to please answer the question

Communications guru said...

Again, If you have a point, try and make it.