The Truth About Right-to-Work (For Less)

Pro-business conservatives are pursuing an unprecedented assault on the rights of working families at both the national and state levels. Congress and no fewer than 37 state legislatures are pushing through right-to-work or related bills. Some of them are passing. Everywhere, though, the arguments supporting the laws are based on outright falsehoods, some of them, including phrases like 'forced unionism', are embedded in the names of the legislation. Organizations like the National Right to Work Committee use scary language, including threats of union violence and allusions to corrupt union bosses, and misleading or false propaganda to pursue their anti-worker agenda:

What's next is up to Right to Work supporters like you.

If you haven't done so already, please send your senators an e-mail expressing your support for freedom and the National Right To Work Act. Then, please forward this message to friends, family, and other like-minded citizens and ask them to sign the petition as well.

It's absolutely vital we turn up the heat on every member of Congress.

As you know, this legislation would enshrine the common-sense principle – already enforced in 22 states – that no worker should be compelled to join or pay dues to a union just to get or keep a job.

In an age of legislative overreach, this is one of the shortest bills ever introduced.

A National Right to Work Act does not add a single word to federal law. It simply removes language in the National Labor Relations Act that gives union bosses the power to extract dues and fees from nonunion workers.

And as we've seen in Wisconsin, Indiana, and elsewhere so far this year, the union bosses will do anything to protect their government-granted forced-dues powers.

That's why your actions are vital. Please Act Today!

Movement conservatives at all levels echo these types of claims and use the army of talking points from the NRTWC and the Republican Party. The problem is that the talking points are just plain false. Here's the reality about right-to-work (for less) laws:

  • Federal law already prohibits any American from being forced to join a union. Since this is almost the only argument that conservatives put forth in supporting right-to-work laws, and it's 100 percent false, what is the real motivation for these laws?
  • Right-to-work laws don't grant any rights, they simply weaken unions
  • Federal law also prohibits unions from using member or non-member fees from paying for activities that might violate the political or religious beliefs of the worker
  • These laws allow workers who do not pay union dues to obtain the same benefits, including legal representation from unions, as union members without paying for them
  • Workers (union and non-union) in right-to-work states make more than $5,000 a year less, on average, than in other states.
  • States without right-to-work laws have healthier tax bases, which leads to better government programs and educational systems
  • Because unions lead in the fight to ensure safety and health standards for all workers, laws that weaken unions also weaken these standards. The workplace death rate is 51 percent higher in right-to-work states
  • Without strong unions to fight for benefits for workers, right-to-work states have 21 percent more people without health insurance
  • The infant mortality rate in right-to-work states is 16 percent higher
  • Without strong unions to fight for better wages for all workers, the poverty rate in right-to-work states is 2.3 percent higher
  • Right-to-work states offer a maximum weekly worker compensation benefit $30 less than other states
  • Right-to-work laws disproportionately harm women. Union women, on average, earn $149 more per week than non-union women
  • The wage gap between men and women in the United States is 32 percent. it is only 5 percent between union men and women
  • Right-to-work laws disproportionately harm people of color. Hispanic and Latino union members earn 45 percent more and African-Americans who are in unions see salaries 30 percent higher than African-Americans that are not in unions
  • The more workers that are unionized, the higher the wages that employers will offer, even to non-union workers, since workers are less willing to accept substandard wages
  • Higher wages mean more money is spent by working families, boosting the economy and leading to lower uneployment numbers
  • Higher rates of unionism lead to increases in productivity in both union jobs and non-union jobs, as employers must bring in new technology, new techniques and better training in order to attract better workers
  • Employers frequently offer higher wages to workers in order to prevent them from organizing a union, meaning that even the presence of unions and the possibility of their existence in a workplace increases wages
  • Right-to-work laws undercut unionized businesses in the states where they exist because non-union businesses can offer cheaper goods and services by exploiting their workers
  • Right-to-work laws interfere with empoyer-worker contracts by limiting what the two sides can engage in. These laws don't encourage freedom, they restrain it for all involved, placing the 'wisdom' of conservative politicians over that of both empoyers and workers
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