Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Defending the Unions in Missouri

“Right-to-work” legislation, which drains unions’ strength by taking away their ability to charge non-union workers for their collective bargaining with employers. Right-to-work laws have been been spreading to states across the US; something which unions say hurts their cause – and that of their workers as they campaign for better wages and safer working conditions. Missouri is next to decide. Missouri has also been here before: in 1978 voters rejected a right to work law by a hefty majority of 60%.

Jake Rosenfeld, professor of sociology at Washington University in St Louis, questioned the claims of right to work laws creating more, and better paying, jobs. “Generally speaking, there is not much evidence to back that up,” he said. Right to work, he explained, would lower private sector union density – even from its current, historic low of around 6.5%. “And lower union density leads to lower pay – for both union and non-union workers.” 
Recently a study by the Economic Policy Institute found that average workers in right to work states make 3.1% less than those in non-right to work.  The EPI wrote: “The median black woman in neighboring RTW (right to work) states earns 6.2% less than her counterpart in Missouri, and the median Hispanic woman earns 12.7% less.”
“It’s clear that a lot of the early players in the right to work arena also dabbled in viciously racist politics as well,” Rosenfeld said.
Martin Luther King was decisively against right-to-work legislation. In a 1961 speech, King said: “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work’… Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights.”

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...


Missourians by a huge margin - 67 percent - voted to repeal the right to work measure,