Jul 28, 2010

GOP gubernatorial candidate using right to work for less as campaign ad

Republicans have long tried to kill labor unions and take away worker’s rights, and that is what the so-called “Right to Work” push is all about. Now, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Bouchard is using it as a campaign strategy to cater to the fringe that controls the GOP. The problem is she is lying about it.

The fact is conservative groups and individuals from both out of state and in Michigan have been pushing right to work for less as a way to end collective bargaining, drive wages down, kill unions and kill what’s left of shrinking middle class. That’s something respect leaders have known for some 40 years.

Proponents of right to work for less 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. RTWFL would give them the option of not paying dues while still enjoying the benefits of being in a union.

Unions in RTWFL 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. 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 is the real intent of RTWFL. The union, by law, must represent all workers equally.

Bouchard has been running a TV ad pushing RTWFL called “Guess,” but the Michigan Truth Squad called him out for outright lying in the ad.

Bouchard claims "Consider this: 22 states have a right-to-work law and their unemployment rate is around 8 percent. Not Michigan's. ("Michigan unemployment 13.6%" appears on the screen.)"

The fact is, According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, June unemployment in the 22 RTWFL states was 8.3 percent. The unemployment rate in the 28 states that require workers at workplaces represented by unions to pay dues was 8.6 percent. That’s a .3 difference. The state with the highest unemployment in the nation, Nevada, with unemployment of 14.2 percent, is also RTWFL state. In New Hampshire, which has union worker laws similar to Michigan, it was 5.9 percent. Not only that, the average per capita income in RTWFL states, according to the 2009 Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis data was $37,324; in the 32 other states, the average per capita income was $38,917.

Then he says, “"Guess where our jobs are going and our kids with them."

The jobs are going overseas, but the kids are not going to RTWFL states.
“Today eight of the 22 RTWFL states -- Nevada, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee -- have unemployment rates of 10 percent or above. A 2008 survey conducted by Michigan Future Inc. and the state's 15 public universities found that Michigan college graduates who leave here mostly are going to non-RTWFL states. The top five states attracting recent Michigan college graduates were, in order; Illinois, California, New York, Ohio and Texas. Only Texas among those states has a RTWFL law.

But here is most outrageous lie, calculated to get right-wingers off their butts and to vote for him.
"To get a job, workers shouldn't be forced to join unions or have money pulled from their paychecks to fund political action campaigns. That's driving business away."

“In Michigan, campaign finance laws require union members must either write a separate check for a PAC contribution, or provide written annual approval for automatic payroll deductions. It's a felony to force union members to make a contribution to union political causes. It's incorrect to say a union member has to make a political contribution to get a job. And with unionization in Michigan at a historic low of 18.8 percent, it would seem that many workers are finding a job without being "forced to join unions."

The Michigan Truth Squad is a project of the Center for Michigan, a "think-and-do tank” formed by Phil Power, the former owner and publisher of Hometown Newspapers, in 2006. The Truth Squad will promote honesty and integrity in the political campaign season.

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