Right to Work

Do not be fooled by the name

For individuals not familiar with the issue, Right to Work sounds like a good idea. After all, everyone should have the right to work.

However, do not let the name fool you.

The designation of “Right to Work” was created by the supporters and proponents of anti-labor interests to put a positive spin on an anti-worker statute.

In reality, So-Called “Right to Work” laws prohibit agreements between labor unions and their employers. These laws strip workers of protections afforded by unions, lower wages and endanger worker safety and health.

Essentially, So-Called “Right to Work” laws were created with the sole intent to hurt labor unions by discouraging employees from joining unions. Federal law prohibits any American from being forced to join a union, meaning RTW laws do not grant any rights, they only weaken worker protections.

So-Called “Right to Work” laws make it optional for workers protected by a union contract to help pay for the expenses a union incurs while guaranteeing the rights of all employees. They restrict freedom of association by prohibiting workers and employers from agreeing to contracts that include fair share fees, forcing dues-paying union members to subsidize services to non-union employees.

According to the AFL-CIO, states that adopt So-Called “Right to Work” laws reduce their residents’ wages. On average, wages are at least 3.1 percent lower ($5,971 less on average) in these states. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals median household income in states with these laws is $6,568 (11.8 percent) less than in other states with it ($49,220 compared to $55,788).

Besides earning less, residents in these states are less likely to have employer-sponsored health insurance and pensions. Sadly, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reported the infant mortality rate is 14.2 percent higher in states with RTW laws.

Implementation of these laws also correlate a poor quality of life. Lower wages and having to pay for one’s health insurance leave little money to pay for other daily necessities. As a result, more residents of So-Called “Right to Work” states fall under the poverty line (14.8 percent to 13.1 percent) compared to those who live in states without the law, census data showed.

Residents of So-Called “Right to Work” states are also more likely to not have a quality education. According to the National Education Association, states with right to work laws spend 31.3 percent less per pupil on elementary and secondary education than other states.

When it comes to worker safety, RTW states have a higher rate of workplace fatalities, as workers are 54.4 percent more likely to die from a workplace injury.

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