Elections have consequences. And in three states, the decision to vote in favor of Republican governors and state legislatures earlier this month means they are closer now to enacting anti-worker legislation that would limit collective bargaining than they were before Nov. 8.
Voters in Missouri and New Hampshire backed GOP governors at the ballot box nearly two weeks ago, while in Kentucky there is now a Republican majority in both houses of the Legislature. As a result, elected officials in those states are expected to try and enact so-called right-to-work (RTW) legislation in 2017. And the Teamsters and other pro-worker allies must be on the top of their game to stop it.
Maximizing union power on behalf of members has been a continuous fight. That’s how everyday Americans get better pay with better benefits. While corporate cronies like to talk about economic growth in states that adopt RTW, the statistics don’t show it.
Those living in RTW states have a higher poverty rate than those in ones that support collective bargaining. In fact, nine of the 10 highest poverty states are RTW. That, in part, is attributable to lower salaries and benefits. Those with no rights at work make almost $1,500 a year less. They are also less likely to receive employer-based health insurance or pensions as well.
Missouri and Kentucky in particular have shown they don’t need RTW. According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, they were the top two job creation states. So why should they institute legislation that will inevitably cut salaries?
If these three states institute RTW, it would be harder for workers to protect their wages and job security and their voice in the workplace would be silenced. Meanwhile, big business would get even more power at a time when CEO pay has grown to 373 times that of the average worker.
These efforts need to be called out for what they are -- a corporate-fueled attack on everyday people who are just trying to earn a living to support their families. It’s part of a national effort being pushed by the same big companies and business executives who for years have boosted their profits by sending American jobs overseas. These out-of-state special interests are targeting Kentucky, Missouri and New Hampshire to lower wages and cut benefits for workers so they can increase their profits even more.
So-called RTW is a ruse. Don’t be fooled!