Busting so-called “Right-to-Work” Myths

You’ve heard of ALEC, right?

The acronym stands for “American Legislative Exchange Council,” an industry-sponsored group dedicated to promoting CEO-friendly changes to laws — that lobbies elected officials. They’re promoting a tempting-sounding change to Minnesota’s constitution, and Minnesota’s Republicans are ignoring the founding father’s warnings about the “tyranny of the majority” as they flex their new-found muscle at the state house.

factory workers

American workers won the right to bargain collectively; it's like big business using the Chamber of Commerce and ALEC.

Contrary to the talking-points being spread by the Center of the American Experiment, evidence shows that adding new government regulations in the form of so-called “Right to Work” laws actually hurts economic growth and development.

It’s a job killer! The new laws squash opportunities for the working class and drive down wages and benefits across the board, not just those in the unions.

Once wages are declining, demand for housing, goods, and services drops, too – not what we need to spark a recovery in the housing market or create new jobs. Once that vicious cycle gets a toe-hold in a local or regional economy it’s lights-out for prosperity for most workers and businesses.

That’s part of the reason this infamously falsely-named bill has been fought in in Wisconsin, Indiana, and elsewhere.

Right-to-Work sounds tempting until you get past the name

“We’ve seen the conflict these anti-middle class attacks are causing in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and many other states. Fortunately, there is bi-partisan opposition to this un-Minnesotan measure.”
Shar Knutson
President, Minnesota AFL-CIO

But it gets worse: Not only do these laws fail to create jobs, but for every $1 million in wage cuts six (6) six jobs are lost in the local economy. In other words, reducing wages causes local economies to lose jobs.

You can see where this spiral leads:

The next cut to workers standard of living comes when benefits are reduced. The hard, cold fact is that not only are employers in so-called “Right to Work” states less likely to offer benefits, but workers are currently losing health insurance coverage 70% faster than in the free-market states.

Naturally that just leads to less money for schools. Lower school funding leaves districts making more layoffs and increasing class sizes so each student gets less attention. For example, during the 2008 – 2009 school year, anti-middle class right to work states spent only $9,005 per student, compared to $10,966 in Minnesota.

Let’s not go backwards

The gains we’ve made in this country are in part a credit to the rise of our middle class. Quality public services, training, and education are exactly what our business leaders need, and because that’s also an effective prescription for restoring reliable revenue streams to Minnesota’s operating budget, the temptation for Minnesota Republicans to leave their mark on Minnesota with ALEC‘s pro-CEO agenda is a distraction. It’s been disproven, Since we already have the right, what does the name hide? and it’s opposed by the NFL Players Association, but elected officials hate to lose face, so Minnesota’s GOP politicians need to hear they’ve been duped by ALEC‘s lobbyists into putting new regulations with a mis-leading name into our constitution.

Sure, that will ensure they leave their mark; but it will be in the form of rolling us back to the same sort of working conditions we object to in other countries — hardly the legacy most public servants claim to aspire to leave for their children.

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About local49

IUOE Local 49 was formed in 1927. Today we are more than 13,000 men and women in Minnesota, North and South Dakota with contracts for highway/heavy and building contractors, well drillers, equipment repair shops, welding shops, sand and gravel suppliers, counties, municipalities, hospitals, school districts, cemeteries, and more.

Posted on January 30, 2012, in benefits, Jobs, MN politics, union and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It is now the common wisdom of millions of interested parties that ALEC does not work for the vast majority of citizens, that it is a vicious corporate lobby and that it is thee main force behind the deterioration of personal liberties and workers’ rights in the United States.

    Arguing against ALEC’s influence over state legislation has become more difficult thanks to efforts such as ALEC Exposed which display how similar bills advancing in GOP-controlled states are and from whence they originate. Now, Florida Rep. Rachel Burgin (R-56), a 29 year old former legislative aide and graduate of Moody Bible Institute, has made the task of indicting ALEC for undue influence in state politics that much easier by forgetting to remove ALEC’s mission statement from a bill (PDF) she suddenly “decided” to propose. This bill calls on the federal government to reduce taxes for corporations (HM 685).

    Burgin discovered her error, but not before Common Blog spotted it.

    All ALEC model resolutions contain a boilerplate paragraph, describing ALEC’s alleged adherence to free market principles and limited government. Rep. Burgin introduced a bill that was the same as the model word-for-word, forgetting even to remove the paragraph naming ALEC and describing its principles.

    As a Texas Governor might say; “Oops!”

  1. Pingback: “Right to Work?”

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