North Carolina, a Right to Work state since 1947, is moving forward with a new bill that could further entrench Right to Work into the workplace. If passed, the bill would solidify Right to Work into the state’s constitution, severely limiting union influence in the state.
Approved by the House, the bill is currently being considered by the Senate. If passed, the bill would be on the November ballot.
The latest news comes at a difficult time in U.S. politics as many voters oppose Right to Work legislation. Critics cite research showing slower job growth, low wages and hazardous working conditions without union protection. In recent years, Right to Work has come under fire as the attitudes, size and structure of the workplace has changed.
States that adopt these laws make joining a union optional, giving employees the ability to receive union benefits without paying regular dues. The lack of membership and funding has crippled union forces within many states.
With little union interference, employers have more control over wages and workplace conditions, often to the detriment of workers. It’s an outcome the country’s labor leaders have fought tooth and nail to prevent.
“North Carolina’s Senate and voters need to realize what’s at stake here,” said Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in Ohio. “The state enacted Right to Work during a time when nobody knew the consequences of these measures. Now voters and workers understand that this power move would only constitutionalize low wages and unfair working conditions.”
November 2018 could see North Carolina join several other states who have added Right to Work laws to their constitution. Proponents of the legislation view it as a checkmate against those fighting for repeal of current laws. Should Right to Work be voted into the constitution, it would require a much more difficult repeal process than a regular bill.
Studies have shown that “Right to Work” is a very misleading title. States who have adopted these laws see overall slower job growth and weaker unions, leading to labor groups being less able to protect workers from low wages and risky conditions. Ultimately, businesses receive the biggest benefit, with more money saved that doesn’t trickle down to employee salaries.
“The state is on the corporations’ side, not the workers’,” said Dalton. “Critics will push hard evidence at the Senate, and if that fails, they’ll continue the fight through mid-terms. There’s still hope because the final decision is made by the votes of workers.”
For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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