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Education & Labor Committee Republicans

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Left Turn: Exploring the Opposition to a Worker’s Right to Choose



We have to get past this whole situation where we manufacture crises because of politics. That actually leads to less certainty, more conflict, and we can't all focus on coming together to grow.

– President Barack Obama, 12/10/12

If the president followed his own advice, there would be less confusion over Michigan’s effort to strengthen workers rights.

Leaders in the Wolverine State have approved ‘right to work’ legislation, a commonsense change to labor policy that protects employees from losing their jobs if they refuse to fund a union. President Obama launched an attack on this sensible reform, telling a group of workers it would “take away your rights to bargain for better wages.” Washington Democrats followed suit, offering more misinformation and heated rhetoric.

Despite such overblown objections, right to work reform is not the radical proposal Democrats envision. In fact, 24 states have now enacted the right to work policy for three simple reasons:

Reason No. 1: Right to work reform protects a worker’s ability to decide where his or her hard-earned income is spent. A right to work law says if you do not support the union, you do not have to fund the union.

Reason No. 2: Right to work reform supports job creation. A 2011 study indicated faster growth in employment and income in states with right to work protections.

Reason No. 3: Right to work reform is permissible under federal labor law. In 1947, Congress amended the National Labor Relations Act to allow states to enact right to work protections. States should not be condemned for exercising their authority under the law.

Regrettably, opposition to basic worker protections has become all too common in Washington. Instead of supporting the interests of America’s workers, the Obama National Labor Relations Board has:

What do these policies have in common? They empower Big Labor at the expense of workers. Perhaps this explains why Democrats oppose state efforts to adopt right to work protections. As the Wall Street Journal editorialized:

The best case for right to work is moral: the right of an individual to choose. Union chiefs want to coerce workers to join and pay dues that they then funnel to politicians who protect union power. Right to work breaks this cycle of government-aided monopoly union power for the larger economic good.

President Obama should follow his own advice: Stop manufacturing a political crisis where it doesn’t exist and work with Republicans to address the real crisis facing the nation’s fiscal future.

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