Friday, November 1, 2013

How workers' freedom is getting chipped away

Our friends at the Economic Policy Institute came up with this analysis of the attacks on workers' freedoms over the past two years. In dozens of states, workers' freedom is being undermined to take a sick day, to earn a decent living or to collect benefits they paid for.

The war on workers is waged in states all over the country because of ALEC, the corporate dating service for state lawmakers.

EPI gives a good rundown of exactly how ALEC works:
ALEC’s 2,000 member legislators include a large share of the country’s state senate presidents and house speakers. Legislators are invited to conferences—often at posh resorts—where committees composed of equal numbers of public and private officials draft proposals for model legislation. ALEC’s staff then drafts the legislative language and produces supporting policy reports. Thus state legislators with little time, staff, or expertise are able to introduce fully formed and professionally supported legislation.
And this is what happens:
The corporations pay ALEC’s expenses, contribute to legislators’ campaigns, and fund the state-level think tanks that promote legislation; in return, legislators carry the corporate agenda into their statehouses. Over the past decade, ALEC’s leading corporate backers have contributed more than $370 million to state elections, and over 100 laws a year based on ALEC’s model bills have been adopted.
Be very afraid.