Blog Archives

The 2 problems with “Right-to-Work” laws

Not paying union dues?
Better than the mythical free lunch, right?

According to Ron Klain, writing at, the tempting-sounding so-called “Right-to-Work Laws Won’t Bring Back Manufacturing.” Why? As Klain, a senior executive with a private investment firm, explains, “There are two problems with right-to-work laws as simple solutions for our manufacturing woes: They aren’t right and they don’t work.”

Don't buy Right-to-Work; it's a lie!Regardless of how you feel about unions, the unfairness of this legislation should offend you.

Klain uses a different metaphor than our favorite “Right to Work Out” explanation, but regardless of whether you think such legislation is aimed at undermining either unions or the desire of anyone to pay their fair share, the bottom line is Read the rest of this entry

So-called “Right-to-Work” has dangerous side-effects

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.
Read the rest of this entry

Rep. John Kline (MN-2) not interested in job creation

John Kline, job killerKline flatly opposed creating jobs by repairing dangerous bridges and infrastructure

When asked by a constituent about a jobs bill during a Town Hall meeting on Monday, January 30, 2012 in Shakopee, MN, U.S. House Education & Workforce Committee Chair John Kline said he s didn’t agree with the President about jobs bills.

Rod Hunter of Red Wing, Minnesota, drew applause from much of the audience when he asked Kline to support an extension of unemployment insurance and support a jobs bill to get people back to work. “With millions of people unemployed still and their benefits going to run out at the end of February will you be in favor of extending them unemployment benefits for the rest of the year with no strings attached? Will you going to support a jobs bill to help people get back [to work]? Our infrastructure’s decapitated and with our highways and bridges there is a lot of work to be done.”

Representative Kline flatly opposed creating jobs by repairing dangerous bridges and infrastructure, preferring partisan posturing during an election year over the sort of leadership he could be showing in DC on behalf of his constituents, having attained influential position as a Committee Chair in the 2010 elections. Read the rest of this entry

Prevailing Wage rollbacks actually undermine outcomes

Hard Facts:

  • Comparing school construction costs before and after Michigan’s suspension of its prevailing wage law revealed no difference in costs.
  • National analysis of data on school construction costs reveals that prevailing wage laws do not have a statistically significant impact on cost.
  • In Pennsylvania, when prevailing wage levels were lowered substantially in rural areas during the second half of the 1990s (a period of declining unemployment and rising prices), school construction costs went up more in areas where prevailing wage levels fell the most.

The gap between “in theory” and what actually happens:

The authors of a recent survey (linked below) discovered that opponents of “Prevailing Wage” are often ignoring real-world cases and research – so opponents are perpetuating the myth that prevailing wage laws raise costs by using flawed “hypothetical” situations, assuming nothing else changes when wages and benefits on projects are slashed sharply.

But the study, as detailed in a press release late last year, makes it clear that assuming nothing else changes is – well – just a bad, unfounded assumption.
Read the rest of this entry

Obama Administration’s Decision to Deny the Keystone XL Pipeline Permit

International Union of Operating Engineers

For Immediate Release
January 18, 2012 

 Contact:   Jay Lederer (202) 778-2626 


Statement by

International Union of Operating Engineers General President James T. Callahan


Obama Administration’s Decision to Deny

the Keystone XL Pipeline Permit

Today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of State to withhold approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is a blow to America’s construction workers.  As the sector hardest hit by the recession and one that still grapples with an unemployment rate of 16%, this project could have been a lifeline to thousands of unemployed Operating Engineers.

The IUOE is deeply disappointed in the Administration’s decision.  We will continue to work with our partners in labor and the industry to bring vital energy projects online and to create the kind of high-paying, skilled jobs that are so vital to our economy, our members and their families.


The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) represents more than 400,000 members in 123 local unions across the U.S. and Canada, including operating engineers who work as heavy equipment operators, mechanics, surveyors in the construction industry; stationary engineers in building and industrial maintenance; nurses and other health care workers; and public employees.

Right-to-Work? Not so much

This has been building for 50 yearsIUOE Local 49 brass logo alternative

So-called “Right to Work” laws are named cleverly, but it’s misleading. This push is about requiring unions to represent workers filing grievance claims, or use any other union benefit free of cost. Not a very free-market approach; it’s deliberately adding free-loaders to the unions overhead costs—and the money the businesses save doesn’t end up in your pocket.

“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. Read the rest of this entry

Governor Mark Dayton: A Jobs Plan for Minnesota

Getting Minnesota Back to Work

Governor Mark Dayton and Minnesota state Democrat-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Legislators have announced a plan to put thousands of Minnesotans back to work this year. The plan includes a number of proposals designed to provide incentives for businesses to hire out-of-work Minnesotans, invest in infrastructure and train workers for the jobs of the future.

MN Gov Dayton“From day one, my top priority has been to get Minnesota working again. Our jobs plan will help businesses create good jobs for thousands of Minnesotans who are looking for work. We need to focus on what we know will work: investing in infrastructure, providing incentives to private sector businesses to create more jobs, and training workers for high-demand careers. Read the rest of this entry


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