Illinois Federation of Labor urges lawmakers to block “right-to-work” (for less)

righttoworkIn state after state, Big Business lobbying groups, with millions at their disposal, are pushing hard for laws that would allow union-represented employees to opt out of paying any dues. Their goal is simple: to weaken unions so that they can no longer stand up for employees – driving down wages, diminishing bargaining power, and eroding benefits.

The groups claim to be concerned with workers’ rights – they call their plan “right-to-work” – but a look at their record tells a different story. They’re the same groups that have opposed virtually every actual right for workers – especially the right to have union representation. And they’re well aware that in so-called right-to-work states, wages and benefits are lower than in states where unions are strong.

With a new governor in office who is a proponent of such “right-to-work” (for less) laws, the Illinois labor movement is gearing up to make sure they don’t come to Illinois in any form.

Under those plans, unions would be required to provide the same representation – and economic gains – to workers who don’t pay any dues as to those who do.

Earlier this month, Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan sent a letter to every Illinois legislator letting them know that Illinois labor is united and mobilized to ensure that no “right-to-work” proposal is approved by the Illinois General Assembly.

Carrigan wrote:

Making Illinois a right-to-work state in any form is a terrible idea. States with right-to-work laws have lower wages and incomes, have lower rates of health insurance coverage, have higher poverty and infant mortality rates, invest less in education and have higher workplace fatality rates. It is not a coincidence that eight of the top 10 poorest states in the United States are so called right-to-work.

While out-of-state corporations and venture capitalists would benefit by paying significantly lower wages and virtually no benefits, the very fabric keeping our communities together today would quickly unravel. The “race to the bottom” would hasten the decline and harm working families who are investing their time and efforts to make their communities better places to live.

Instead of pursuing harmful policies like “right-to-work,” the Illinois labor movement is urging lawmakers to focus on policies that will raise wages and improve access to affordable health care and retirement security.

Already, several lawmakers have stated their opposition to any form of “right-to-work” in Illinois. But more are needed to ensure this idea doesn’t go anywhere. Call your representatives and senators to let them know “right-to-work” (for less) has no place in Illinois – you can reach your lawmakers using the toll-free AFSCME hotline at (888) 912-5959 or by using our online click-to-call tool.

Want to learn more about the devastating impact of “right-to-work” laws? Visit the AFL-CIO’s website.

– Shared via: AFSCME Council 31