Right to Work

My state, Virginia, is doing pretty well in the great grand scheme of things. Sure, we’re only in second place in importing trash and in killing convicts. Several states are outpacing us in both incarceration rates and growth of sprawl. But we’re cutting down forests, defunding education, and selling cigarettes as fast as anybody in the area, and we can stand proud as Virginians with the knowledge that our Commonwealth is the home not only of Oliver North, Ken Starr, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, John Whitehead, Lorena Bobbitt, and an all-star cast from that classic Washington production “Watergate,” but also of the honorable Governor Gilmore, the man who has said so eloquently that we kill in order to demonstrate the value we place on life, a man who has dedicated himself to a courageless defense of our eternal natural right to mess around with machines that send little hunks of metal screaming through the air fast enough to take part of a person’s brain along. Most of all we can stand firm and dignified as mules in the knowledge that this is a Right to Work state.

“The Right to Work principle – – the guiding concept of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation –,” we can read at http://www.nrtw.org/b/rtw_faq.htm, “affirms the right of every American to work for a living without being compelled to belong to a union. Compulsory unionism in any form — ‘union,’ ‘closed,’ or ‘agency’ shop — is a contradiction of the Right to Work principle and the fundamental human right that the principle represents.” This is not an unfundamental human right we’re representing here, or even a fundamental inhuman right (not to be confused with the fundamentalist inhuman Right). We are talking about something so ludicrous that it qualifies as (a representation of something) both fundamental and human.

Of course, for those insufficiently profound to be convinced of the importance of the Right to Work by the assertion that it represents a fundamental human right, there is a powerful layman’s argument for the Right to Work as well. On the same website, we can read: “This ‘compulsory union representation’ deprives employees, even in Right to Work states, of their right to bargain for themselves.” Think about it. A company is naturally and fundamentally far more impressed by the moral strength of one employee (who may or may not exercise his or her right to carry concealed weapons) threatening to go on strike than it is by the threat that all or many of its employees will walk out. That sort of herd behavior has no impact on individuals of management caliber.

And if by some freak occurrence individual bargaining doesn’t get you very far, there’s always the union that your fundamental human right has allowed you to stop supporting:

“If you resign from union membership, you are still fully covered by the collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated between your employer and the union, and the union remains obligated to represent you. Any benefits that are provided to you by your employer pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement (e.g., wages, seniority, vacations, pension, health insurance) will not be affected by your resignation.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is headquartered in Virginia, and its website is a highly credible source of information, as demonstrated by statements like the following:

“The Foundation neither encourages nor discourages you from resigning. The decision is yours alone.”

It can therefore be taken as unquestionable fact when the same site tells us that “Right to Work states enjoy a higher standard of living than do non-Right to Work states.”

Another website, that of a union in Colorado (http://ibew113.com/rtw/index.html), seems ignorant of the powerful arguments in favor of Right to Work laws. Oblivious to the importance of fundamental human rights, it tells us that workers in non-Right to Work states make 18% more annually. Not one of the 21 RTW states is among the top 15 states for highest annual pay or even above the national average. Of the top 15 states for highest hourly pay, 14 are non-RTW. Workers in non-RTW states get 20% more in benefits. Poverty is more common in RTW states.

Imagine stooping to discuss such matters as poverty when fundamental human rights are being considered! And what if the Right to Work actually does promote poverty? Isn’t this the workers’ fault for failing to support a union in the absence of any agreement requiring others to do so too? People in RTW states are free to unionize, to collectively bargain, to urge others to support their cause, and to sleep under certain bridges.

“You will find some people saying that they are for the so-called ‘Right to Work’ law, but they also believe in unions. This is absurd – it’s like saying you are for motherhood but against children.” President Harry S. Truman, 1947

“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining. We demand this fraud be stopped.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Who did MLK think he was to be making such assertions? The man cheated on his wife after all. He ought to have been impeached.

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