Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to talk to your crazy uncle about right-to-work for less

I listen to Rush Limbaugh.
Most of us are saddled with them: the relatives who listen to Rush Limbaugh, watch Fox News and repeat their poison over the Thanksgiving turkey. Attacks on unions are high on the agenda this year, so you may be hearing about the virtues of right-to-work for less laws.

Here's a handy guide for talking to that crazy uncle about right-to-work for less. Remember, a one-on-one conversation has power (especially if you win). Take special note, Hoosiers:

• Special interests and the politicians they bought are trying to break the back of the middle class.  That's what right-to-work for less is all about.
• CEOs make more money when they destroy worker’s rights, but that puts the economy out of balance. You need a prosperous middle class to buy the products that businesses produce.
• Let’s be honest. We all know this isn’t about jobs. If it were, middle-class families in states that have passed right-to-work for less laws would be better off. They’re not.
• The real motive behind right-to-work is to destroy unions. Corporations want complete control of state government, and unions are the only thing standing in their way.

He says: Jobs are growing in right-to-work states, and we need to give our communities the economic tools needed to grow and attract jobs.
You say: We do need to rebuild our state. We need to invest in our kids, in our communities’ schools, in the health and safety of our citizens. We need good jobs that can support a family. But so-called right-to-work laws do not create jobs. They hurt the economy and they hurt workers.

He Says: It’s wrong to force people to contribute part of their paycheck to something they don’t believe in at risk of losing their jobs. (or) It’s unfair to force people to join a union and pay dues if they disagree with the union’s agenda.
You Say: Each person who benefits directly from union representation should pay their fair share of the cost of that representation. (Also: People in the workforce pay all kinds of professional licensing fees and dues that are compulsory -- and that enable them to earn higher wages.)

He Says: We need to stand up to the unions that are hurting our state. (He'll give an example of a government worker who makes a lot of overtime or has a large pension.)
You Say: The economy collapsed because of Wall Street recklessness and CEO greed. PIVOT. And what matters most now is that politicians work together to put people back to work in good jobs. We don’t need to wreck good middle-class jobs while dividing our state the way Wisconsin and Ohio were divided.

Some facts on right-to-work for less states:
  • In states that have right-to-work laws, workers have a lower standard of living, make an average of $1,500 less a year and are more likely to go without health insurance.
  • In Mississippi, Texas and Idaho, right-to-work laws left thousands of workers who contributed to their pensions for decades with broken promises and no retirement security.
  • Oklahoma is the only state to adopt a right-to-work law in the past decade. Lawmakers promised companies would relocate to Oklahoma because of it. They said there would be more jobs. Ten years later, jobs fell by 25 percent and the number of companies moving there dropped by 33 percent.
  • 8 of the 12 states with the highest unemployment rates are RTW states.
  • 6 of the 8 states that have the lowest wages are RTW states.
  • Rates of uninsured are 24 percent higher in RTW states.
  • Rates of uninsured children are 39 percent higher in RTW states.