By TIM ROWDEN
Washington – Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is at it again, introducing – once again – a National “Right-to-Work” bill that aims to weaken unions and the voice of workers everywhere.
Paul’s bill would make the 23 free bargaining states, including Missouri and Illinois, so-called “right-to-work” (RTW) states.
President Trump has said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
Missouri voters rejected RTW (Prop A) in August of last year by an overwhelming 67 percent to 32.5 percent, but the fight to stop the anti-worker legislation isn’t over.
The Republican majority Missouri Legislature is considering RTW yet again. With Paul leading the charge at the federal level, and with Trump’s support, union members and all workers in Missouri and across the country could find themselves back in the trenches fighting the anti-union, anti-worker, legislation once again.
So-called RTW outlaws union represented businesses negotiating labor contracts that assure workers will either pay dues or a smaller “fair share” fee to cover the union’s cost of bargaining and representation. The goal, at both the state and national level, is to financially starve unions, which, by federal law, must represent all workers in a union shop whether they pay dues or not, thereby limiting the union’s ability to negotiate and represent workers.
ONLY THE LATEST ATTACK ON ORGANIZED LABOR
As UCOMM (Union Communications) blog reported, signing a national RTW bill would only be the latest in a long line of attacks on Organized Labor from Trump.
Not only did he appoint the deciding vote in favor of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus ruling, which made the entire public sector RTW, he also:
• Repealed or rolled back numerous safety standards put in place under the Obama administration.
• Has been in open war with federal workers unions.
• Is currently facing multiple lawsuits over union-busting and the failure to pay workers during the government shutdown.
TRUMP ‘BELIEVES IN’ RIGHT-TO-WORK
In 2017, when the last national RTW bill was proposed, the White House commented saying “The president believes in right-to-work. He wants to give workers and companies the flexibility to do what’s in the best interest for job creators. (Editor’s note: read that ‘companies’) Obviously, the vice president has been a champion of this as well.”
It’s unclear if Paul’s national RTW bill will gain any traction, particularly with Democrats in control of the House. But the fact that Paul has filed it, and that President Trump has expressed a willingness to sign it – adding to his growing list of attacks on Labor – should cause concern for union members and working people on both sides of the political aisle.