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Monday, December 10, 2012

Right To Work... for Less

For the record, I've spent most of my career in management. I have never belonged to a union.

I have, however, become a stronger and stronger supporter of organized labor the more I read and understand the facts about them and how the once mighty American middle class came into being, grew, and prospered primarily and almost exclusively because of organized labor.

We must be clear on facts.

The rise and prosperity of the American middle class had precisely nothing to do with any generosity or leadership principles of management. Without the labor movement, there would have been no middle class because there would have been nothing in it for management and the shareholders to pay workers decent wages, provide for safe working conditions, and for companies to have to negotiate some portion of the wealth generated to be shared back with the workers that made goods and delivered services.

The worker-management relationship is symbiotic, but the movement in this country was been away from organized labor for decades. Many would trace it back to Reagan and his treatment of the air traffic controllers.

Regardless of when it began, the so-called "righ to work" laws are nothing more than well-crafted marketing by Big Money and their puppets in state legislations. It is designed to dupe Americans into believing that such laws - presumably to give workers the "freedom" or "right to work" without paying union dues in unionized shops - is what's best for both companies and workers.

That's absurd. Why should on employee be allowed to benefit from collective bargaining done by his/her co-workers and yet not have to be required to pay their dues to fund the organization that handles the collective bargaining on behalf of all workers. How is that fair?

Right-to-work laws are terrible for the middle class. The only jobs they are likely to create will be those that are lower paying with fewer hours and fewer benefits. They will not be the kind of middle class jobs on which anyone can live or raise a family.

Ask any Walmart worker.

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