Labor Council’s White debates Republican Onder, a master at distortion, misinformation
By ED FINKELSTEIN
Once again, the supporters of the so-called “right-to-work” law (the phrase itself a lie) have crafted yet another phrase that’s a lie to continue their distortion of what RTW targets: “Monopoly representation.”
The new phrase was revealed by Missouri Sen. Bob Onder (R- St. Charles) in a debate recently with St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White on the Charlie Brennan show on KMOX radio.
Now the anti-worker forces have three clever key phrases that distort the truth because none are true:
- “Right-to-work” is a clever PR phrase, but it gives no one the right to a job. Everyone has the right to work.
- “Freedom to work,” another useless but clever PR phrase because everyone is always free to work anywhere they want if they have the skills required for the job. The RTW law provides no such “freedom.”
- “Monopoly representation:” The implication is that the union has a monopoly at the work place and everyone must join. Again, not true. A worker’s right to not join a union is protected under federal law.
CHERRY PICKER, DISTORTER
And as is always the case, Onder like so many other RTW supporters, cherry picks information and uses outright distortions of fact to try to make their point. A few examples from last week’s show:
- Onder: Missouri loses out on new auto plants that are going to RTW states.
- White: That’s not because of RTW, it’s because of lucrative tax incentives offered. Example: Toyota to Kentucky: $150 million in tax breaks and incentives. Volkswagen to Tennessee: $300 million in tax incentives in 2014, over $500 million in 2008.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Several years ago, Gov. Jay Nixon had to plead with the Republican-controlled legislature for a $10 million tax incentive to keep the auto plant in Kansas City and protect thousands of good paying jobs. It almost didn’t pass!)
White noted that the air-conditioning giant Carrier, who received several million in tax incentives, left a “right-to-work” state and “flew over six other RTW states to move their plant to Mexico.”
- Onder: “Monopoly representation” forces everyone to join the union and pay union dues.
- White: Absolutely not true. No one has to join the union, but they do have to pay a fair share fee for the union’s services from which they benefit.
- Onder: Growth in the Midwest states over the last decade is higher than in Missouri, 17 percent vs. 3 percent. “Indiana has seen growth in jobs since passing RTW.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Onder slipped in “Midwest states” allowing him to cherry pick data and make it appear as though this applies nationwide. It doesn’t.)
- White: But they are low-paying jobs. Indiana has one of the largest percentages of low-paying jobs in the nation. A recent headline over an article by the Indiana Assets and Opportunity Network reads: “Recession may be past, but underemployment and low-wage jobs still define landscape in Indiana.”
WHERE COMPANIES LOCATE
- Onder: RTW is one of the main reasons companies want to locate in a state.
- Caller: Not true. A survey of site selection consultants by a national magazine shows that a state having a RTW law is not even in the top ten reasons a company picks a location. It’s transportation, a skilled workforce, and infrastructure.
LET WORKERS FEND FOR THEMSELVES
- Onder: The union shouldn’t have to represent everyone. Let workers be represented by a union or let them deal with the company themselves.
- White: When everyone belongs, there’s strength in numbers. Without that strength, there is no leverage for employees to get a better deal with their employer. The company has more leverage over one person than it does the entire workforce.
- Onder: With 30-40 percent of union members being Republican, they don’t want to pay for supporting the Democrats, which unions are basically doing.
- White: They don’t have too. If they ask, their dues or fees can only go to support the collective bargaining efforts, and not politics. That’s the law.