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Opening Arguments

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You remember that right-to-work law the General Assembly passed. It was going to create a paradise with full employment! It was going to create a hell of exploitation of the downtrodden!

Oh, not so much. Whatever effects there will be are likely to be small and difficult to measure. But don't let that get in the way of the heated rhetoric:

In a recent speech calling Tim Kaine a "friend of labor," President Barack Obama took a swipe at states — including Virginia — that have right-to-work laws. Not surprisingly, he misrepresented not only the laws but the facts.

The president says right-to-work laws are an attempt to "take collective bargaining rights away." No, they aren't. Unions can still bargain collectively in right-to-work states. What they can't do is make union membership a condition of employment.

The president also said he likes to call right-to-work "right-to-work-for-less laws." Good one. But studies about wages in right-to-work versus non-right-to-work states differ; some say they're higher, others say they're lower. And others note that both economic output and wages have risen faster in right-to-work states.

I hear that "right to work for less" a lot from RTW opponents -- it's become their standard line. Even if we accept that, is it better to have more jobs at lower wages or fewer jobs at higher wages? Kind of depends on whether you're looking or not, doesn't it?


Tim Zank
Wed, 05/02/2012 - 10:27am

RTW is nothing more than fairness (that favorite buzz word of the Child President). Look at it in more simple terms, forcing union membership and forcing union dues is the same as the Bodega owner in New York that has to pay protection money to the mob. Same thing...

Wed, 05/02/2012 - 12:07pm

You're being far too cute. Of course right to work laws don't directly take away the rights of unions to collectively bargain. They do it indirectly by getting rid of unions.

The merits of right to works law can be debated by reasonable people, but only if conservatives will quit lying. The point of the laws is simply to bust unions by denying them dues. Why can't conservatives just come out and say it, if they think it's such a swell idea?

Wed, 05/02/2012 - 6:15pm

The American Postal Workers Union is a right-to-work union.

It is far from being busted.

Tim Zank
Wed, 05/02/2012 - 7:25pm

Littlejohn, if unions are so great and do such good, wouldn't everyone be in line to voluntarily hand over their $$$$??  If simply making the membership and dues voluntary would cause them to lose members and fail, what does that say about them? We'll see if the only reason members stayed members was because they were forced to I guess now won't we?


Christopher Swing
Wed, 05/02/2012 - 9:47pm

We already saw "right to work" fail in this state once, we'll see if it doesn't fail again this time.

john b. kalb
Thu, 05/03/2012 - 8:27pm

Hey Swingman - Help us out - When and in  what way did RTW fail in our State of Indiana ?  And what did it fail to do??  

Christopher Swing
Thu, 05/03/2012 - 11:40pm

What, started to forget that far back, Kalb?

Right to work was originally passed in Indiana in 1957. It was repealed it in 1965.

Guess what? It didn't do a lot for jobs or workers.

Oh look, the link I posted to G+ back in January! Still don't know how to use Google, Kalb?

Tim Zank
Fri, 05/04/2012 - 6:12pm

Right to work didn't fail, it just took 8 years for the unions to buy the elections of enough democrats  to get it repealed. Odds of that happening again in Indiana are slim and none. 

Christopher Swing
Fri, 05/04/2012 - 6:19pm

Wait, Tim Zank of all people has a conspiracy theory to explain something? I bet the unions also had zombie voters taken around town by bus to vote multiple times, too. XD

I'm sure it couldn't have been because people saw how much worse off they were with right to work and voted accordingly.

But aside from apparently failing to create jobs and make things better, it is certain that right to work did fail to continue to be a law here at least once. :D