Hidden behind the name “Right-to-Work” are some serious problems.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s “Kaiser State Health Facts” compiled by the Urban Institute and Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured estimates based on the Census reveal alarming facts about health care coverage. Currently 9.6% of Minnesotans do not have health insurance, compared to 16.6% uninsured in states that have enacted various “Right-to-Work” statutes.
So-called “Right to Work” is, of course, meant to mislead voters, and perhaps even politicians. Everybody has a right to work. Nobody is ever forced to join a union, let alone to pay dues. Labor law already requires unions to represent non-members who seek redress for grievances, etc. The name sounds great; the reality is a little more disturbing.
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…
Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
speaking about so-called Right-to-Work laws in 1961
Not paying union dues does sound tempting at first: it’s better than a free lunch, right? What if I told you unemployment is lower in Minnesota than in these so-called “Right-to-Work” states? It is. You might think that means we’re earning less, since more Minnesotans are employed, driving down demand for skilled workers – right?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, (American Community Survey 2008. Table B20017,) Minnesotans earn substantially more than people in states “protected” by this mis-named “right to work” nonsense. Median annual Minnesota personal income is $31,445. Personal income drops to $26,381 in anti-middle class “Right to Work” states.
Still not convinced?
The players of the NFL understand exactly what’s at stake for workers. They oppose these so-called “Right-to-Work” changes, because they know that it was unions that earned us reasonable work hours, fair pay, and benefits such as health care, which obviously is threatened if special interests roll back what made America great: the opportunity for middle-class workers to support their families.