“Right to work” rumblings surface in the states

by Tim Reed

With the ramming through last month of so-called “right-to-work” legislation in Michigan, even over the protests of citizens and without public hearings or debates, extremist state lawmakers, corporate-funded lobbyists and those interested in weakening worker rights appear to be pushing this damaging legislation in other states, most notably Pennsylvania, Montana, Missouri and Ohio.

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The passage of the Michigan bill in the waning moments of the last legislative session laid plain the influence of wealthy corporate backers, such as the Koch brothers and Amway heir Dick DeVos, on this type of middle-class destroying legislation. Legislators  attached a nominal funding amount to the legislation so that it could not be overturned through a citizens’ veto.

Why the desperate reach to pass this legislation? It has been shown time and time again that right-to-work laws:

So, if it isn’t designed to benefit workers, why pass it? Simple answer: corporate profits.

right to work infographic ohioBy removing the ability for workers to join together and bargain for contracts, corporations and their backers, such as the Koch brothers and ALEC, can pay their workers less, increase their profits, and by extension their political influence.

With the fight in Michigan over for now, right-to-work backers have moved on to other state targets.


There have been rumblings in Pennsylvania that right-to-work may be coming, but Gov. Tom Corbett seems to believe that it would be a losing battle. According to The Morning Call, Corbett has said that Pennsylvania lacks the political will to pass such legislation:

There is not much of a movement to do it, and a lot of it has to do with the politics at the local level, at the county level and at the state level,” Corbett said during a regular appearance on the Dom Giordano radio program on WPHT-AM in Philadelphia. “Until I see a strong will to get legislation passed, we have a lot of other things that we have to get passed.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder took the same “not in my backyard” position until he wilted under the pressure of extremist legislators, DeVos and the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity.


In Montana, both GOP-controlled chambers of the legislature have expressed their support for passing “right-to-work,” but the state’s newly elected, and Montana Education Association-Montana Federation of Teachers supported Democratic governor, Steve Bullock, has said he would not sign any such legislation. Republicans in the state have now indicated that they may push the legislation directly to citizens for a vote because they would be unable to override the governor’s veto. Many union and worker advocates welcome the chance for voters to have their voice heard on the issue, as right-to-work has a strong history of failure when citizens are given a chance to actually vote on it.


Although Missouri seems unlikely to pass right-to-work legislation, it will certainly be debated in this state legislative session. The GOP has veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate in Missouri, but Republican leadership believes they would lose the votes of many of their party’s less extreme members if it comes up and would be unable to override a veto from Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. Nonetheless, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and other corporate backers are intent on pushing the law.


Ohio has been a hotbed for right-to-work rumors recently. Although citizens handily defeated a ballot measure that would have enshrined right-to-work in Ohio law by 61%-38% just last year, wealthy backers seem intent on ramming this damaging legislation down the throats of middle class families that simply don’t want it. Luckily for citizens of the state, Gov. John Kasich, who supported such legislation in the past, seems to have gotten the message and doesn’t appear to want to waste  any more of his dwindling political capital on passing a bill that he has already failed on before.

2 responses to ““Right to work” rumblings surface in the states

  1. Republicans are the masters of what I call the syntax of deception. The use of deceptive ideas framed in words that suggest a certain meaning, while the real meaning is just the opposite or at least way off the mark. Examples:

    – “Job Creators”- Small Businesses are the real job creators in the USA since the advent of our major corporations’ offshoring labor to sweatshops abroad to maximize their profit margin (50,000 manufacturing facilities closed shop & 9 MILLION jobs offshored), while small businesses that remain cut cost to the bone to compete for inestment money in a global economy that creates downward pressure on wages here to stay competitive.

    – “Right to Work”- Who’s not for the RIGHT to work? It should be the “Right to Work FOR LESS” if they were honest. There’s always been tension between management and labor over compensation for labor’s services. But for over a century, the high wage that Unions fought for provided the biggest most prosperous consumer market this world has ever seen. A middle class with disposable income will clear the shelves and crank up production. But FTA’s have by-passed the USA worker for a cheaper labor force in sweatshops offshore, yet these same “multinationals” who’ve kicked the comparably high wage USA worker to the curb, still expect them to purchase these offshored products made at pennies on the dollar, rolling up to our shores in Maersk freighters with load capacities of 2.2 million train car sized “containers” to soak the USA and fleece the declining middle class they’ve betrayed for all they’re worth

    For a comparative study, go to Politifact an independent fact check and click on “Truth-o-meter,” and “Pants on Fire” to see the sheer number of WHOPPERS the GOP floats out there to deceive the gullible. The use of fear mongering, practiced, shrill, cries of outrage and panic to stir their base’s anger/fear and firm up their allegience, while appealing to the worst instincts of human nature, is something they have perfected. It’s like they depend on their base to be either intellectually lazy, or complicit with the deceit.

    I predict as the money continues to dry up, you’ll see more and more vilifying of those who have slipped into poverty from the middle class as “freeloaders”; a type of blame the victim approach to subterfuge the truth and keep the blame from coming to rest upon the real perpetrators of this mess.
    I have come to the realization after voting GOP for 30 years that they will use deceptions like kicking the hornets’ nest of social issues including but not limited to: reproductive rights, Evangelical Christians, gun rights, homosexuality, color, sable rattling, and a myriad of alleged “personal freedoms,” a type of fear mongering and the use of practiced cries of panic and outrage to divert their base’s attention away from the fact that their first and only true love is to the top, who are using their influence in our legislature to turn American the Beautiful, land of opportunity, into a mere Plutocracy. They have pitted us, one against another with this fear mongering, fanning the flames of our worst human instincts, inciting divisions along party lines, socio-economic lines, and racial lines to keep their base’s attention diverted from the fact that they serve only the top. When this can no longer be denied, the GOP will be in big trouble with the electorate, because they will feel used like yesterday’s newspaper and “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” or an electorate that realizes they’ve been used to craft their own demise.

  2. A more appropriate phrase for these laws is “corporate servitude.” Even “right to take” is better. Here is a quote for George Lakoff:

    “Without workers negotiating as a unified group, corporations will not have to grant those union-created rights. Corporations will have take-it-or-leave-it power over individual workers. In short, this is corporate servitude: you do what you are told and take what you are offered.”

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