Top leaders of the Democratic party and various labor groups met on Wednesday to discuss pro-union measures being added to the “A Better Deal” agenda. Following the meeting, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced a joint effort to end Right to Work Laws.
This new measure, aiming to “ban state laws that undermine worker freedoms,” would revoke states’ abilities to sign Right to Work legislation into law. The 27 states which have already passed such measures would be stripped of them.
“These laws… do not give anyone the right to a job; they merely weaken unions by starving unions of the compensation they need to get their job done,” the agenda states. “A Better Deal will end these special-interest laws and ensure that workers… build a future for themselves and their families.”
“The No. 1 reason for the decline of the middle class is the assault on unions and labor that has come over the last 30 years,” said Schumer. “Labor created the middle-class.”
A combination of renewed efforts to pass Right to Work and a political focus on reinvigorating middle-class families made the cooperation between Democratic and labor leaders inevitable.
“Defeating Right to Work requires a group effort from all parties involved,” says Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in Ohio. “This is a key step towards restoring union power and providing new opportunities for workers and families.”
“A Better Deal,” announced in July 2017, came as a new strategy for the Democratic party. Taking aim at the jaded rural and blue-collar workers who clung to Donald Trump in the 2016 election, Democrats hope to broaden their appeal. The plan focuses on improving wages, lowering costs of everyday expenses and boosting job opportunities.
While millions are hearing about Right to Work for the first time, for many the controversy and political strife surrounding it is decades old.
Right to Work is a collection of laws which restrict unions from requiring membership and dues. In states which have passed these measures, unions are required to represent and provide benefits for all workers. While this would be a union’s dream, none of those employees are required to join the union or provide financial support.
Anti-union politicians and organizers see Right to Work as a happy middle ground for all parties involved. Employees receive union perks while business owners are freed from the cost of bargaining; however, it’s not that simple.
States with Right to Work legislation have little to no union power. Without any financial support unions collapse, leaving workers at the mercy of their employers. Studies have shown states with Right to Work laws have lower wages and slower business growth in addition to longer hours and hazardous work environments. The money saved, meant to trickle down the corporate ladder, stays at the top.
“Now is the time for voters, workers and everybody who opposes this legislation to be heard,” says Dalton. “Only the support of the people will allow ‘A Better Deal’ to finally end Right to Work.”
For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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