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24 Going on 33: Nine States Will Face “Right-to-Work” Proposals Thanks to Empowered GOP


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Across the country, state legislatures are beginning new sessions and in many Republicans are looking to use their election capital to make big changes in labor policy.  In the wake of the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans control 31 of 50 governorships and 68 of 98 partisan legislatures. They have total control (both the governor’s mansion and the legislature) in 24 states.   Democrats have total control in only seven states compared to the 13 the party boasted going into November.

What does this mean for labor? Purple states are expecting to face a “Right-to-Work” push.

24 currently states have “Right-to-Work” on the books, but Republicans in nine others (Wisconsin, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Ohio, Colorado, Kentucky, Montana, Pennsylvania and Missouri) are planning to introduce the anti-union law this legislative session.  The Hill lays out the “Right-to-Work” landscape:

GOP lawmakers might try to pass divisive right-to-work (RTW) legislation in Ohio, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kentucky and, especially, Wisconsin. Ever since Gov. Scott Walker (R) became the darling of the hard right by outlawing collective bargaining for public-sector workers in early 2011, the state has seen an avalanche of corporate cash pour into its elections. Right-wing activists are determined that Wisconsin will continue with an extreme anti-labor legislative agenda in 2015. In addition to state-level RTW bills, conservative lawmakers at the county level may follow the lead of Warren County, Ky., which became the nation’s first county to enact a mini-RTW bill in December. Right-to-work laws weaken unions and lower wages, but despite what their supporters claim, there’s no reliable evidence that they increase employment levels.

In some states governors seem unwilling to endorse “Right-to-Work” because of the accompanying political blowback. This is particularly true in Ohio and Wisconsin where governors John Kasich and Scott Walker not only have political aspirations beyond their current offices, they have faced off with the labor community to a contentious end in the past. The general consensus is, however, that if these bills make it to either governor’s desk they would likely sign it.

On the federal level, pundits expect the GOP to use their increased power to further obstruct the work of the Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  The first three years of the Obama presidency featured Republicans, big business lobbies, and anti-union groups rendering the NLRB virtually functionless.  Aft


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