Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Right to Work " Misleads Michigan Voters

Republican big interests are targeting Michigan voters believing that their lies can mislead enough of us to eliminate our rights to organize at the workplace. These individuals want Michigan voters to believe that they are struggling to protect employees' right to refuse a union. These laws forbid unions and employers from negotiating over agreements where employees agree to join a union and pay fees in return for their employment. Their claimed motivation is disingenuous. These people are supported and manipulated by powerful conservative business interest such as local Chambers of Commerce and large corporations (Berkeley Miller and William Canak, (1991) "From "Porkchoppers" to "Lambchoppers": The Passage of Florida's Public Employee Relations Act," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 44, No. 2; pp. 349-366; Dane M. Partridge, (1997) "Virginia's New Ban on Public Employee Bargaining: A Case Study of Unions, Business, and Political Competition," Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, Volume 10, Number 2; pp. 127-139). The National Right to Work Foundation claims to be an organization based on ordinary citizens yet it was founded and financed by powerful and influential right-wing organizations ( "National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation," Media Transparency, Accessed December 14, 2007).

Do you think these entities care about you or the fact that unions are responsible for helping workers gain better benefits, better wages, and better safety conditions ( United States Dept. of Labor)? Wages and benefits are lower in right-to-work states. Without stable unionization, many jobs that depend on unionized wages and benefits could be on the decline. The reality is that companies are giving a lot of money to keep your wages down and to reduce the standard of living for all Michiganders, so they can take record breaking profits from your hard work. These third party out-of-staters want to convince people to agree to this obscene plan by misleading voters that their rights are being taken away by labor unions.

Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) almost all employees have the right to unionize and bargain collectively. There are already restrictions placed on unions to protect employees' right to refuse to partake in union activities. You can also choose which employer you want to take a job with. These rich elites want you to believe that you are not free to refuse, but you are. They are the ones who are not free to interfere with your right to organize and to engage in concerted activity for the mutual gain or benefit of fellow employees, which is a duty that was created to protect you from them. Please don’t forget that.

In a free market society, unions and employers should be free to negotiate an agreement to keep employers unionized. Unions give something to the employer in negotiations for these agreements because they provide employees with stability and security. This decreases industrial fighting and protects employee rights. Additionally, these agreements give employees a better bargaining position for all employees. In right-to-work states, employees who decide not to join a union still receive the benefits of your union fees as an employer cannot discriminate between employees based on union activity. These states force you to pay for someone else a free ride on the benefits unionized employees fight to protect. We are all in this together and without cooperation Michigan laborers will suffer.

If you care about this issue, please email Luke Canfora lcanfora@miaflcio.org at the Michigan State AFL-CIO and volunteer to work the polls on Janurary 15th to stop this petition from threatening Michigan workers.



Geina said...

I want a write to work state I am fed up with Unions here in Michigan!

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