Why Unions Are the Seeds of Democracy
Scott Walker has struck another blow against democracy.
On Monday, the Republican Wisconsin governor signed into law a bill that made Wisconsin the nation’s 25th right-to-work-for-less state. For Badger State workers, this is nothing short of a disaster. Contrary to what you might hear on Fox So-Called News or read in The Wall Street Journal, right-to-work-for-less laws are not a recipe for economic success.
In fact, according to the Economic Policy Institute, “8 of the 10 worst states in terms of quality of life are [right-to-work] states.” And that’s not even the worst of it.
Studies also show that workers in right-to-work-for-less states make less money, get skimpier health benefits, and are more likely to die on the job than workers in Union Security states. Republicans, of course, like to argue that all this doesn’t matter because right-to-work-for-less states have lower unemployment rates.
But that claim doesn’t really hold up to much scrutiny.
In reality, 7 of the top 10 states in terms of unemployment rate are right-to-work-for-less states, and if anything, the lower unemployment rate in some right-to-work-for-less states probably has more to do with population size than union-busting.
So whatever way you look at it, right-to-work-for-less laws like Wisconsin’s are a raw deal, both for workers and the states they live in. They also pose a mortal threat to a democratic workplace, and that’s arguably a much bigger problem. That’s because the real purpose of right-to-work-for-less-laws isn’t to lower wages or gut health benefits – although those are some nice side benefits as far as corporate America is concerned.
No, the real purpose of right-to-work-for-less laws is to totally gut the negotiating power of unions, the most important check we have against concentrated wealth and power.