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Senate Republicans Take Aim At Working Americans

The war on workers went national this week, led by the Senate’s GOP leader. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) teamed up with top Tea Party lawmaker Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to roll out a measure that would have gutted collective bargaining in the U.S. and resulted in lower wages for workers. And while it didn’t go anywhere this time, it should serve as a warning to regular Americans.

Less than a month after congressional Republicans returned to the job with egg on their face due to their colossal error of shutting the federal government down for 16 days, Sens. McConnell and Paul evidently decided their party hadn’t done enough to hurt middle-class families. So they tried to amend a workplace discrimination bill meant to protect gays and lesbians so that they could take another shot at them.

Holding up the successful right-to-work (for less) push by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) last year as his inspiration, Sen. McConnell had the nerve to announce on the Senate floor Tuesday that his proposal was about “basic fairness.” He stated it would end “institutional discrimination against workers” and stop unions who had “come to care more about its own perks and power than the workers it was charged with protecting.”

Luckily, Senate Democrats would have nothing to do with the amendment and refused to even consider it. But what does the introduction of such a measure say to workers? Are they really expected to think they will be better off without union representation, even when the average unionized worker earned $200 more a week than a non-unionized one in 2012?  

As Teamster General President James P. Hoffa said in an e-mail to Teamster members yesterday, “This line of thinking shows how indebted some politicians are to anti-worker billionaires and CEOs, and how indifferent they are to the problems facing the middle class.”

Right-to-work (for less) is a sham. It is just another attempt by lawmakers cozying up to corporate interests to end unions as we know them so big business can tip the scales even more in their favor at the expense of U.S. workers. Backed by such anti-worker interests as the Koch Brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council, the measure would allow companies to terminate employment for virtually any reason.

This latest effort is just part of a broader scheme to expand the big business agenda. Corporate cronies continue to wage a war against workers in several states. In Ohio, for instance, moneyed interests are trying to get a proposition on the 2014 ballot that would institute the right-to-work (for less) policy in the heavily unionized state.

This anti-worker platform pushed by the corporate class can pop up anywhere and at any time. Workers need to stay vigilant and recognize when anti-worker legislation is proposed and speak out against it.