Monday, January 16, 2017

Right to Work: State Lawmakers' Positions That Are Wrong for Workers

In a recent article published on its website, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) cautioned unions and their members about the increasing number of government officials who are voicing support for right-to-work laws.

Missouri State House
As the article stated, "New Republican governors in Missouri and New Hampshire and an incoming GOP House majority in Kentucky mean big changes are coming for the labor community in those states."

As we pointed out on this blog last Augustworkers in right-to-work states earn almost $6,000 a year less than workers in other states. In addition, right-to-work states have:

  • Lower wages and incomes
  • Lower rates of health insurance coverage
  • Higher poverty and infant mortality rates
  • Less investment in education
  • Higher workplace fatalities

By contrast, states without right-to-work laws benefit from a higher tax base, which has the effect of improving the overall quality of life.

In the IBEW article, President Lonnie R. Stephenson said that unions would be spending "the next few years" fighting such attacks on working men and women at the state and federal levels. "Wouldn’t it be nice," he said, "if these elected officials spent less time attacking unions and a little more time working to make the middle class accessible to even more of their constituents?”

The union also cautioned against attacks on education that could negatively affect union apprenticeship programs.
The article concluded with this comment from Stephenson: “All of this just means it’s more important than ever that we in the labor movement stick together to push back against efforts to silence working people."
The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

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