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"Right to Work" Really Means "Union Busting"


How dare I claim that "Right to Work" really means Union Busting?

Let's start with some quotes by the former head of the anti-union National Right to Work Committee, Reed Larson:

The union hierarchy, operating on billions of dollars plucked from workers’ paychecks, comprises a political machine unmatched by any other in America—a political machine whose philosophy consistently lines up with the socialist fringe in its assault on the rights of individual citizens to live their lives free of government intervention.

Unless we deal with this fundamental injustice, all of the valiant efforts to prevent our country from being engulfed in a flood-tide of leftist social engineering are destined to failure. The special coercive privileges enjoyed by union officials under federal law have enabled them to amass a degree of political power behind their collectivist schemes that no other special interest comes close to matching. Their power to dictate public policy is out of all proportion to the number of persons whose views they truly represent.

Whatever your concern, whether it be taxes, education, health care, the economy, or myriad other issues that need addressing, you can be assured that the propagation of the statist, anti-freedom position on each of those issues is being funded largely with union money, essentially seized at gun point from workers. *

Wait a minute!

  • Assault on the rights of individual citizens?
  • Fundamental injustice?
  • Flood-tide of leftist social engineering?
  • Socialist fringe?
  • Collectivist schemes?
  • The statist, anti-freedom position?
  • Seized at gun point from workers?

Most working people will find these phrases to be overblown rhetoric and, frankly, somewhat bizarre. Historians, political scientists, and sociologists, however, will recognize the language of ultraconservative political ideologues who think America went down the tubes in the 1930s when Franklin Delano Roosevelt used “collectivist schemes” of “social engineering” to steer the nation toward “statist, anti-freedom” policies. These “statist” policies and programs—we know them as Social Security, unemployment insurance, public assistance, low-cost housing, and public health—were embraced as sensible and useful by most Democrats and Republicans for some forty years.

How did 1% of the population of the United States come to own some 40% of our nation’s wealth? And why is it the mission of the most right-wing sector of these elites to crush labor unions?

But let's be clear that there are business people and wealthy people who defend the rights of working people, run corporations where there are tough but fair negotiations with unions, and find the ultraconservative snobs disgusting.

Since the 1930s a small group of wealthy ultraconservative elitists has been rolling back the mandate to “promote the general welfare” assigned to the federal government in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. When the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt began to weave a social safety net to protect working people, these wealthy elitists took out their knives and began to slash at the fabric of our society’s commitment to the common good.

Greed is not good, contrary to the slogan of fictional financial guru Gordon Gecko in the film Wall Street. Greed is not good for most of us, no matter where we locate ourselves on the political spectrum. Almost all of us—certainly 99%--support the ability of working people to earn a decent living, ensure worksite health and safety, organize on behalf of their economic interests, and defend their basic dignity.

The Rev. Martin Luther King spoke of the “Beloved Community” and his concern that either we build that community or we face chaos. It is the community-shattering selfishness and greed of the top 1% in this country that has generated the Occupy Wall Street movement, which seeks a fair deal where everyone pays their fair share. Only a tiny 1% of the population benefits from the current lopsided economic arrangements and policies.