Category Archives: myth buster

Right to Work? Yeah, right.

Pull the other one – it’s got bells on!

Nobody is ever forced to pay union dues, even if they work at a mostly-union job. But the spin from big-money corporations makes it sounds like union organizers are thugs, not the heroes that built our middle-class.

AFL-CIONobody’s union dues ever go to political campaigns, either – all that spending is strictly regulated by federal law already: any union spending on political causes or campaigns comes from strictly voluntary contributions, totally separate from union members dues. The national Chamber of Commerce has decided that only businesses should be able to bargain collectively – not regular workers – so they lobbied politicians to take that right away from us.

So why the big push by lobbyists and big corporations? Because they want to keep more money for the CEOs, plain and simple.  Bigger bonuses, bigger paychecks, and more spending on their lobbying, which can only mean less for the actual, productive workers who provide the goods and services these fat cats are relying on for their perks, benefits, bonuses, huge pensions, and salaries. You can bet they’re motivated by money, not concern for your paycheck or pension.

How fair is that?

Sure, the name sounds great – but since we all already have a “right” to work, when you think about it you’ll realize that name was carefully chosen to obscure the real agenda by keeping us from thinking hard about what’s actually in the bill.

Workers in and out of unions must fight back against the negative stories the national news media is parroting from talking points only vaguely connected to reality. The AFL-CIO is spear-heading an overdue pushback about how critical the middle-class wages and benefits are to our future and our economy by establishing a Message Movers team–folks who are willing to talk back when they hear biased stories about unions and big business by politicians or through social media and email. Read the rest of this entry

Video: Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) boost local outcomes

A Tool for Building Middle-Class Careers

Cornell University released a study which examines community benefits that follow from provisions within project labor agreements (PLAs) that encourage minorities, veterans, and women to be hired on construction projects. Community Workforce Agreements (CWAs) ensure that local community residents have the chance to earn a good living. Such Workforce Development Provisions are on the rise, and the benefits are clear.

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Prevailing Wage Myths Busted

Prevailing Wage laws have been a centerpiece of Minnesota’s excellent construction industry.  In brief, these surveys of prevailing wages paid in various parts of the state allow local contractors to pay fair wages on local jobs without out-of-town fly-by-night shysters who don’t care about our communities undercutting contractor bids by slashing wages (a practice which naturally also tends to attract less-qualified workers.)Minnesota’s prevailing wage laws protect our local business owners and their workers.

There are some contractors that are unhappy their business mode (paying workers less) just doesn’t fly in Minnesota. They place similar sized bids, of course, but to compete for projects covered by prevailing wage agreements (not all construction projects are) they’d have to pay employees more fairly rather than the owner getting a big bonus. When such cut-rate business owners aren’t allowed to lowball their competitors on how little they can pay their workers, or pass along cost over-runs from slow or shoddy work — in other words when they’re forced instead to compete on skill, efficiency, and work quality — they whine, and try to change the rules.

MN prevailing age laws have protected and helped working familiesSo instead of investing in training, paying their people more or getting better at what they do – they are trying to drive wages down to their level.

This is a big issue for Minnesota’s construction workers. There is a group of people that are trying to devalue the highly-skilled, highly-trained labor that sets Minnesota well-above the average just to line the owners pockets.

Here are some of the issues that frequently are discussed regarding Prevailing Wage – it’s important to correct the myths and half-truths.
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