What’s this ‘right-to-work’ talk all about?



“Right to work” is a term to get familiar with and fast, because the essence of it is to lower your benefits and lessen your paycheck. Let’s take a look at where “right to work” came from and what its goal is.

In 1935 President Roosevelt signed into law the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and for the first time workers in the United States gained the legal right to form unions and to collectively bargain contracts with companies to improve their lives and standard of living.

Almost immediately, big business started the process of diminishing the newly gained workers’ rights. Why? Those rights brought with them a price tag for big business. Monetarily there were increases in pay and benefits. But equally distasteful to big business was conceding seniority rights, just cause for discipline and/or termination along with other negotiated work rules.

The result of big business’ efforts is the Taft-Hartley Act which watered down some of the rights workers gained under the NLRA. But big business was not done yet. Next came the formation of the National Right to Work Committee, a deceitful name in that its goal is not to ensure anyone a right to employment but to undermine the solidarity of workers and to weaken unions at the bargaining table.

Right to work is not new to Missourians. Our parents, grandparents and many of our current members saw through the baloney when right to work was defeated in Missouri in 1978.

We won’t be deceived into giving up the wages, benefits and the rights we enjoy today. That’s why beginning this week, and in the weeks to come on our page, you’ll find a box titled RIPOFF with a fact or two about RTW and how it truly rips off workers and their families.

Webster’s dictionary describes “ripoff” as “to steal or rob, to cheat, exploit or take advantage of.” That, members, says it all about what “right-to-work” really is – a ripoff of workers!

One key theme of the RTW ripoff is that wages are depressed, substantially. That’s why in our Labor Tribune and other knowlegable places you’ll see it described as “right-to-work (for less).”

Watch for RIPOFF for a fact or two that will put this issue into clear perspective for you. When the issue comes up, and it will this year and next, you’ll be prepared to provide the truth about this mis-named, anti-worker law.

THE BIG LIE: Workers wages are not affected by the law.
THE TRUTH: Wages are absolutely affected – NEGATIVELY. The truth is that the average wage in a ‘rtw’ state is $5,538 a year LESS (that’s $106 per week LESS) than in a free state like Missouri.

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