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Enough already with the sanctimonious and dishonest rhetoric from the right this campaign season about who is practicing “class warfare” and who wants to “divide the nation.”

The coordinated attacks by corporate funded think tanks and rightwing politicians on workers and their ability to have a collective voice in unions should provide a clear answer -- as evidenced in the national crusade to push anti-union so-called "right-to-work" laws across the U.S.

"Right-to-work" laws have for years been concentrated in southern and western states where unions have been historically weak, and, thus wages and working conditions far inferior to states with stronger labor traditions.

Indiana is now the first traditional "rust belt" state on the verge of adopting the law, led by Gov. Mitch Daniels, who, not coincidentally, was selected to provide the national GOP rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union speech.

In case anyone missed the connection, Politico gave rightwing icon Grover Norquist lots of ink to make it.

Indiana is not alone. Right-to-work bills are also being pushed in, among other states, Minnesota, Maine, Michigan, and Missouri.

There's a pattern here, as a report today in the Pioneer Press about the proposal in Minnesota makes clear:

"The proposed constitutional amendment mimics legislation being brought to statehouses across the nation by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization liberal interest groups claim is pushing corporate-backed bills across the nation."

Corporate-backed? You can't get much more Wall Street and corporate-backed than ALEC, as Think Progress demonstrated last August.

Sponsors of ALEC's annual meeting in New Orleans included not just the notorious Koch Brothers, but a veritable Who's Who of Wall Street and corporate America, including big oil, tobacco, health insurance pirates, pharmaceuticals, chemical companies, Walmart, the National Rifle Association, ad nauseum.
What’s the real goal of such laws? To erode the ability of workers to act collectively to improve their pay, benefits and working conditions.

Even Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, hardly a fan of unions, admits that the rightwing claims that “right-to-work” promote job growth have proven to be a fantasy in Oklahoma, the last state to adopt the anti-union law.

While challenging union critiques, the Journal does admit: "Proponents can name few, if any, big employers that moved to the state or added chunks of jobs on account of the law.”

"The fact remains that these laws exist so corporate CEOs can pay their workers less, cut worker benefits and line their own pockets," Minnesota AFL-CIO President Char Knutson said in the Pioneer Press.

To be sure, such laws are not about worker democracy. Unions negotiate improvements in pay, benefits, pensions, and working conditions on behalf of all workers in businesses or workplaces they represent.

Or does anyone really believe the Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil, Merck, Walmart, Shell, Peabody (coal), PhRMA (the pharmaceutical trade lobby), UnitedHealthCare, Fed Ex, and all the other corporate sponsors exposed by Think Progress really care about worker's rights.

The broader agenda, of course, is to further weaken unions, both so they have less ability to challenge corporate power in the workplace, and to diminish the collective voice of workers, in the  corporate-friendly Citizens United era, in the political arena.

Thus the haste to rapidly advance the laws before the next election. Workers in Wisconsin and Ohio have demostrated that aroused workers and their unions can, and will, fight back.

Just think about ALEC and the heavily funded right-to-work push the next time you hear any candidate or politician wailing about who is really promoting "class warfare."

Originally posted to National Nurses Movement on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:33 AM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    National Nurses United, (AFL-CIO): the new RN "super-union" representing 150,000 nurses from all 50 states!

    by National Nurses Movement on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:33:09 AM PST

  •  This topic is truly disgusting... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and infuriating that they're partially getting away with this kind of behavior.

    Then the Repugs claim that we're the side engaging in class warfare?  Huh?  Did they just pull a "I know you are but what am I?"  or "I'm rubber and you're glue?"

    I'm not in a union, nor have I ever been in one, but I do live in Ohio and I definitely helped to defeat SB5 here in my state.  I guess greedy corporate backed think tanks can't buy, defame and lie their way out of everything.  It will be a long time before another Con-artist is elected as govenor or state rep.  No one will forget this happened any time soon.  I hope the think tank bribed them well because they will not have a job come next year.

  •  I wish that we had more organizations (5+ / 0-)

    in the nation like yours.  Your activism and persistence has truly been admirable.

    Just think how much could be accomplished if every profession were as organized and as aggressively active as the NNM.

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:47:27 AM PST

  •  Can a union bring suit for refusing to pay for (0+ / 0-)


    After all, if the worker doesn't want to join a union, the union should NOT be obligated to provide services to that worker.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 12:30:33 PM PST

    •  To answer your question, it depends on whether (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon, RN4MERCY, Mdfog10

      your state allows something called 'agency shop" That means that the union bargains for all of the employees within its represented group - teacher or nurses, for example. An employee can choose not to belong to a union in this case, but must pay for all of the costs associated with bargaining and maintaining the union contract in place for that group. Any other union services are not provided to nonmembers, as they are not paying for them.

  •  re: ALEC? As Woodie Guthrie once said... (0+ / 0-)

    "Some men rob you with a six-gun -- others rob you with a fountain pen." Citizen's United is such an oxymoron in this context. If only "we the people" were better organized, we could halt this slash and burn crusade against our democracy by the 1%.

    Unions must continue to lead this fight. Maybe it's time to Occupy the General Strike! As Bill Haywood said, "If the workers are organized, all they have to do is to put their hands in their pockets and they have got the capitalist class whipped."

     Thanks, NNM, for informing our outrage!

  •  Thanks nt (0+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Mon Jan 30, 2012 at 09:49:28 AM PST

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