According to The Globe and Mail, Canadian negotiators are calling for the removal of Right to Work laws in the U.S.
Members of Canada’s negotiation team are requesting the U.S. pass a federal law which bans state governments from passing Right to Work legislation. The move to revive unions in major industries comes from an effort to make the U.S. and Mexico adopt better labor standards.
Another target of the negotiations is Mexico’s corporate-sanctioned unions, who are accused of creating agreements unfavorable to workers to keep labor costs down.
“Canada’s got two problems,” said Jerry Dias, leader of Canada’s largest private-sector trade union. “The low wage rates in Mexico and the Right to Work states in the United States.”
The negotiators cite Right to Work’s tendency to leave unions financially gutted. As working standards decline, employers can attract more business at a detriment to workers. While Canada’s employees have a healthier work life, the cost of doing business with them is higher than in the U.S. or Mexico.
“Canada is taking a bold step to do what’s right,” said Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in Ohio. “Right to Work is not only bad for American business, it’s bad for international businesses as well.”
Although it’s the first time Right to Work has been tackled as an international issue, it’s no stranger to conflict within the U.S. where some states have been battling it for decades.
Right to Work is a collection of laws which directly impact how unions control membership and benefits. Under Right to Work, an employee can decline union membership and associated dues while still receiving member benefits.
In theory, this frees up money on both sides of the business. Employers would spend less on bargaining with unions and employees could save more without required dues. Business owners could easily finance growth for the company and workers would be able to buy more and lead a happier work life. The reality, however, is far different.
Studies show the only participant who benefits from Right to Work laws are employers. Without financial support, unions are doomed to fail, dragging along important employee protections. Workers may save on dues, but are now prey to unsafe conditions and long hours. Industry growth slows to a crawl and the money which is supposed to trickle down and improve the business stays at the top.
“How many people have to come out against Right to Work before politicians take a moment to reconsider?” said Dalton. “The people need to make their voices heard so our negotiators know to accept these terms.”
For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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