LETTER: Right-to-work (for less money)

Dear Editor:

What is right-to-work? It is deceptive legislation being pushed throughout the United States designed to destroy all union collective bargaining.

Why is this bad? Without unions, workers are powerless to bargain collectively for fair wages and benefits.

Who benefits from this? Not the working class. The beneficiaries are wealthy corporate interests.

Who is promoting it? Not disgruntled union members. This legislation is being driven by wealthy interests, nonprofit organizations and lobbyists.

Are there states with this legislation? Yes, 28 states in the Southern and Western U.S. have already adopted this legislation. States with this legislation like to point out that their employment numbers have grown over time. This happens because highly mobile companies move their production to right-to-work (for less money) states to reap the benefits of lower wages.

Workers are forced to move into these low-wage states to support their families. Working in a right-to-work state without a union they are now powerless and forced to work for less. Now the dreams of moving up the ladder of success, brighter futures for their children and fulfilling the American Dream become the race to the bottom, living on poverty wages without hope.

The sole purpose of this legislation is to gut a union’s ability to perform, by allowing the workers to opt out of their union dues but still receive union representation. When members stop paying their union dues, the funding for unions dries up.

Unfortunately this works — workers are fooled by this and become the very tool that destroys their own unions. After the unions are destroyed, workers are rewarded with low-paying jobs or no jobs, and then join the race to the bottom with no power to change it.

Without unions representing workers on the job, and in the legislature, they become powerless and are at the mercy of their employers. The employers set wages and working conditions for you, and if the employer is not fair, you are powerless change it.

Right-to-work (for less money) legislation does nothing to empower the worker. The power shifts away from the working class giving total power to the wealthy corporate interest.

Union jobs provide better wages and benefits due to bargaining power as a group. If you work for a union employer you pay union dues. Your union dues are used to empower workers as a group. They are part of your union agreement and pay the wages for your union representation. Your representatives bargain for your wages, benefits and working conditions and work to improve worker safety regulations, workers comp and retirement protections on a statewide and national level.

Your union representatives work long hours every day protecting your interest as you work. One example, unions can (if stated in the contract) provide protection against companies firing you without cause.

In every State, except Montana, employers have the right to fire you for no reason. United we are powerful, divided we fight alone and powerless.

Unfortunately SB-5692 has been introduced in our state to implement this deceptive right-to-work legislation. Call your representatives now and let them know that you do not support SB-5692.

Patrick Wadsworth

Member of the Grays Harbor Democrats