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LiUNA: “The rate of workplace deaths is 36 percent higher in ‘Right-to-work’ states.”

“Right-to-Work” is often labeled a “job creating” law by Republicans who push it, but those who are affected by it can tell you it does nothing of the sort. Rather, its “wage lowering” power far outshines its ability to create an uptick in employment.

To illustrate this point, the Laborers International Union of America (LiUNA!) have created a fact sheet and chart (above) that outlines the damage “Right-to-Work” does to not just members but employers as well. From their release:

“Right-to-work” laws cut wages, put pensions in jeopardy and destroy good benefits.

• “Right-to-work” means workers can choose not to pay their fair share of union dues, stretching your union to the breaking point by forcing it to cover “free riders.” Your voice and that of your fellow workers is weakened.
• “Right-to-work” will deprive you of the family-supporting wages you deserve – workers in “right-to-work” states make about $5,300 a year less than workers in free-bargaining states.

• The health of you and your family will suffer – in “right-to-work” states, 28 percent more people lack health insurance. And your pension will be threatened as companies run away from their obligations.

• “Right-to-work” laws can be deadly. The rate of workplace deaths is 36 percent higher in “right-to-work” states. Workers in those states also lose out on workers’ compensation.

“Right-to-work” is bad for your employer, too – it gives the upper hand to “low road” companies that offer poor pay and benefits. They can also devastate your local economy.

• Employers like yours negotiate with a union for a reason – they get access to a skilled, trained workforce.
• “Right-to-work” laws hurt their ability to compete on the quality, safety and productivity advantages they offer by using union workers. They get undercut by companies who don’t offer good wages or benefits.
• The good wages you make – the wages your union negotiated – allow you to spend more money at local shops, restaurants and other businesses. By weakening unions and putting those wages at risk, “right-to-work” laws can hurt your community’s economy as well.

“Right-to-work” laws take from the pockets of all working people — especially women and minorities.

• Latino union members earn $45 more each week than nonunion Latinos, while unionized
• African Americans earn 30 percent more each week than those not in a union. On average, women in labor unions earn $149 each week more than their nonunion counterparts.
• “Right-to-work” laws undo the major gains unions have made in closing the gap between men’s and women’s pay. While the overall gender gap is 32 percent, it is only 5 percent among men and women who are in a union.

This week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and über-conservative State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe revealed more details of their plan to make the Keystone State the 25th “Right-to-Work” state. If LiUNA’s research is any indication, this is certain to disempower workers and lower wages across the board.


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