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Sen Rand Paul Submits National Right To Work Bill (Again) As A Fundraising Ploy

Paul fund-raises on his ‘right to work’ bill, rates a zero on
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights report card

Image by Stump Source FLIKR CC

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Rand Paul is all in for “right to work,” but he knows his national RTW bill is going nowhere.

Kentucky’s tea party-tilting junior senator never figured it would. He knows hogs will fly before the legislation winds up on the desk of President Trump, a fellow RTW fan.

Paul is clued in to the fact that the Democrats can filibuster the measure to death.

But passing the bill wasn’t Paul’s point. Putting his John Hancock on the legislation was.

Paul’s uber-conservative, well-heeled, union-despising donors are as crazy about RTW as he is. Paul proposed the bill to give himself a chance to burnish his anti-union creds with his bankrollers.

Koch Industries is the pseudo-populist Paul’s third largest contributor, according to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. The National Right to Work Committee piled $7,500 into Paul’s campaign coffers.

Charles and David Koch and other kleptocrats have also extended their largess to pro-RTW Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Bluegrass State’s senior senator.

Paul and McConnell realize that GOP-majority state legislatures are where RTW laws get passed. They were on Cloud Ten–the one above Nine–last January when the Republican-run Kentucky General Assembly approved a RTW bill at warp speed; GOP Gov. Matt Bevin lost no time in signing it.

Kentucky unions have filed suit to overturn the bill.

More than just union members understand that RTW laws are among the oldest union-busting tools around. “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work,’” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. cautioned in 1961. “It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.”

Added King: “Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote.”

Also in 1961, King warned that “the labor-hater and labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other mouth [italics mine].”

Last year, every Republican in the House and Senate got an “F” on a congressional report card issued by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, George F. Curry wrote in the Daytona, Fla., Times.

The LCCHR is an umbrella organization with more than 200 member groups. It graded all lawmakers on how they voted on legislation important to the civil and human rights community, explained Curry, editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service and former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine.

Paul rated a zero.

Tide Turning in the War Against Middle Class Americans

LIUNA - The Laborers' International Union of North America

LIUNA – The Laborers’ International Union of North America

So-called Right to Work Blocked in Missouri

Washington, D.C. (September 17, 2015) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement today on the defeat of right-to-work in the Missouri legislature:

The vote against so-called right-to-work in the Missouri legislature is a victory for all American workers, and especially for the leaders and thousands of members of LIUNA in Missouri who rallied, wrote letters, and called their state representatives to stop this bill.

The victory, where even a Republican majority legislature failed to override the governor’s veto, signals that the attempts to undermine unions and lower wages and working conditions, can and will be blocked.

The tide is turning in the war against middle class Americans.

It is by having the freedom to join together in a union that construction workers build careers, earn family-supporting pay, and stay safer on the job. It is through unions that wage disparities are reduced or eliminated.

The Missouri legislators – both Republican and Democrat – who blocked so-called right-to-work should be commended for protecting those rights and dealing a setback to the tycoons whose vision for America is to reduce the working class to an underclass with fewer rights, fewer opportunities and dramatically increased income inequality.

 

The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

How Much Did Senator Avard Really Know About The National Right To Work Committee’s PAC Donation Scheme?

Kevin Avard (via Girard FLIKR CC)

Kevin Avard (via Girard FLIKR CC)

Last week we reported on the big expose` that Kevin Landrigan did on the National Right To Work Committee’s shady campaign financing scam.

In short, Kevin found that the NRTWC created multiple Political Action Campaigns to funnel more money to State Senate candidates like Kevin Avard than is legally allowed under New Hampshire Law. Each of these sub-PACs gave Avard the New Hampshire maximum of $1,000 to his campaign.

Then the Nashua Telegraph posted Senator Avard’s response in an article titled: Avard calls campaign contribution story ‘hogwash’.

Avard, a Nashua Republican who defeated incumbent Democrat Peggy Gilmour last November, said he did not have any knowledge about an NH1 investigative piece reporting an organization funneled money into his senate run through up to five groups to avoid campaign finance statutes.

“That’s hogwash – it’s hogwash,” he said. “That’s absolutely absurd. I guarantee nothing illegal happened. … I’m just kind of outraged by this; this is just absolutely just stupid stuff, and you can quote me on that.”

New Hampshire’s Democratic Party said the National Right to Work Committee tried to hide money to anti-union candidates by creating front groups and providing five legitimate donations of $1,000 instead of one illegal $5,000 campaign contribution.

Avard’s general election campaign totaled $18,493, considerably less than the $105,049 in receipts reported by Gilmour, according to the secretary of state’s office.

My friend Keith Thompson who lives in Brookline and is represented by Sen. Avard, brought up some very good points about this article from the Telegraph. He was first to point out these three ideas I will expand on now.

First, the article says that the “New Hampshire’s Democratic Party said the National Right to Work Committee tried to hide money to anti-union candidates…” Actually the report was not from the NH Democratic Party it was from NH1 reporter Kevin Landrigan. The Telegraph even say that in the opening of the article. I hope that Sen. Avard is not claiming the Kevin Landrigan is a puppet for the NH Democrats.

If you have followed New Hampshire politics for longer than a week then you will know one thing that is certain, Kevin Landrigan is anything but partisan. He may lean a little right, but his reporting goes right at the heart of both parties and challenges the political ideologies of both sides. This comes with the decades of experience in New Hampshire Politics.

Second, this highlights the Telegraph’s need for a veteran political reporter. Ever since they laid-off Kevin Landrigan, they have lacked any real political coverage. They do a decent job of merging press releases but they lack the real knowledge and experience a reporter like Kevin brings to the story. Maybe if they had kept Kevin around at the Telegraph everyone would be talking about the Telegraph’s huge story about the NRTWC instead of NH1.

Lastly, I do not know anyone who would believe that Sen. Avard was not aware of these shady financial dealings. Keith hit the nail on the head when he stated, “Answer the question directly, Senator (Avard), ‘Did you have any knowledge of this scheme to circumvent campaign finance rules?’”

Avard reported only raising $18,000 dollars and $5,000 can from some type of  “right to work” group. I bet they even came in the same envelope.

“Kevin Avard has a lot of explaining to do to his constituents and to all Granite Staters about what he knew and when about the shady fundraising scheme that he benefited from,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “These questionable contributions represented more than one-sixth of all total contributions Avard took in during the election, and his claim to NH1 News that he has no idea where they came from simply doesn’t pass the laugh test.”

This type of funding is legal, and Sen. Avard is right when he states, “I guarantee nothing illegal happened.” That is exactly the problem, it should be illegal and this type of shady, underhanded donation scheme is just one more reason we need to get the money out of politics. We need publicly funded elections, and bar elected officials from taking any type of gifts or campaign donations from corporations!

WBIN’s Kevin Landrigan Reports On Shady Campaign Financing By National Right To Work Committee

Recently The NH Labor News and Miscellany Blue highlighted the National Right To Work Committee’s shady, but legal, campaign donations trying to flip targeted seats in the New Hampshire Senate.

Miscellany Blue reported “National Right to Work Committee funneled over $25K to state Senate candidates in 2014

“Using an elaborate network of political action committees, the National Right to Work Committee (NRTWC) funneled over $25,000 in out-of-state campaign contributions to five New Hampshire senatorial candidates in an apparent attempt to shift the balance of power in favor of right-to-work legislation.”

Subsequently we blasted the NH GOP for these shady, underhand PAC donations in our post, “The Real Republican Agenda To Pass Right To Work In NH.”

Now veteran political reported Kevin Landrigan followed up these reports with a report of his own.  He spent weeks trying to track down the head of the Citizens for Right to Work director and followed the money right back to the National Right To Work Committee’s PAC.

This action, while legal needs to be changed.  It allows on PAC to create multiple little PACs to give donations above and beyond what one PAC can legally donate.

GO HERE RIGHT NOW to see Kevin’s excellent report on these shady campaign donations.

 

The Real Republican Agenda To Pass Right To Work In NH

No Right To Work

Why is the NH Republican Party pushing so hard for their so-called “Right To Work” legislation?

Is it about jobs? Hardly. It has been proven time and time again that passing “Right To Work” legislation is not the magic job-creator that the Republicans claim it to be. If passing “Right To Work” had some type of magic to create jobs, then “Right To Work” states would have the lowest unemployment rates. Instead, the majority of “Right To Work” states have the highest unemployment rates in the entire country.

Is it about worker freedom? Again, this another myth promoted by Republicans who say that no worker should be “forced” to join a union to obtain a job. This lie is brought out every time the NH Legislature discusses “Right To Work” legislation. Fact: Nobody is forced to join a union. All unions who have agency fee provisions in their contracts have negotiated and agreed to this clause with their employer. Many employers have good relationships with their unions, and want to avoid the workplace tensions that “freeloading” causes. Passing “Right To Work” actually takes away the freedom of employers to negotiate their own collective bargaining agreements with their unions.

Is it about unions taking dues money and using it for political purposes? Nope, that’s not it either. Federal law already covers this: agency fees can only be used to negotiate and administer the collective bargaining agreement. Union members can – if they choose – donate to their union’s political action fund; and the union can use those monies for campaign donations. The difference is: political money is freely given by members and completely separate from dues and agency fee money.

If it’s not about any of those things, what else could it be about? Looks like pushing “Right To Work” is about funding NH Republican political campaigns.

Political blogger William Tucker found that the National Right To Work Committee “funneled over $25,000 in out-of-state campaign contributions to five New Hampshire senatorial candidates [in 2014] in an apparent attempt to shift the balance of power in favor of right-to-work legislation.” (Tuck breaks down exactly how the money was brought in by the NRTWC and pushed out through multiple different state level PACs.)

And the National Right to Work Committee directly gave $3,000 to Bill O’Brien in 2013, $10,000 to the House Republican Victory PAC of NH in 2012, and $1,000 to District 6 Sen. Sam Cataldo in 2012.

AFSC_GUI_Article_10

Governing Under The Influence (Courtesy Image)

Yes, pushing “Right To Work” legislation helps the NH Republican Party fuel their fundraising.

Yes, this is what our “democracy” has come to, these days: looking for the profit motive for pushing legislation. That’s why so many people are getting involved in the movement to overturn Citizens United. The member organizations of the Democracy Initiative are leading the way, nationally. Here in New Hampshire, the American Friends Service Committee’s Governing under the Influence project and Ben Cohen’s Stamp Stampede are working to make Big Money an issue in the presidential primaries.

“Right to Work” has been rejected by the NH Legislature – time and time again – since the 1970s. Year after year, it’s the same-old, same-old: employers getting up and testifying to the Legislature that they (still) don’t want their hands tied when it comes to dealing with their employees.

Yet politicians like Rep Bill O’Brien keep reintroducing the bill, using the same old tired arguments.

No, it’s not about any of those repeated, repeated rationales.

It’s about fundraising.

And that’s really, really sad.

 

New Website Explains Truths Behind Right To Work Laws

I wanted to let you all know about a new website totally devoted to stopping Right to Work.  The website “http://www.wrongforeveryone.com” explains the truth behind Right to Work laws.  These are many of the points that we and many others have made about Right to Work.

Wrong for workers
  • These laws drive down wages for all workers, including non-union members, women, and people of color.
    Workers living in right-to-work states earn about $1,500 less per year than workers in states without these laws. The wage penalty is even higher for women and workers of color.
    (http://www.epi.org/publication/bp299/)

  • Workers in right-to-work states are less likely to have health insurance.
    The rate of employer-sponsored health insurance for workers in right-to-work states is 2.6 percentage points lower than in states without these restrictions.
    (http://www.epi.org/publication/bp299/)

  • Right to work makes workplaces more dangerous.
    According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of workplace deaths is 52.9 percent higher in right-to-work states.
    (http://www.aflcio.org/issues/safety/memorial/upload/dotj_2010.pdf)

The also have a very in-depth section on who is pushing Right To Work laws:

The most well-known of these cash-flush special interest groups include the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Right to Work Committee. Read on to learn more about the groups working overtime to make every state a right-to-work state.

Be sure to check them out….

Three Reason The Proponents of Right To Work in NH Are Wrong.

Dr Gordon Lafer
talks to local NH workers
on RTW.  (credit Matt Murray) 

By Matt Murray

On Feb 16, New Hampshire Public Radio’s “The Exchange” hosted a debate on Right To Work. The program, which lasted about an hour was “all over the map” when it came to issues surrounding Right To Work. The Exchange interviewed, labor economist Dr. Gordon Lafer, Mark Guarino Staff Writer for The Christian Science Monitor, and the newsletter Editor for the National Right to Work Committee Stan Greer.

While it was obvious that everyone on the program was pushing an agenda it was also obvious that everything we have been hearing from proponents here in NH on RTW is wrong.  I will give three reasons why.

1) Right To Work creates jobs!  This is simply not true. Gordon Lafer said over an over that there is no evidence that RTW alone creates jobs. Dr Lafer cited his recently published work (Right To Work: A Failed Policy) that showed among many other things that in “Oklahoma manufacturing jobs went down by nearly a third”.  Dr Lafer said this decine was more attributed to NAFTA and the global economy.  In a surprising statement from Stan Greer, he said “RTW is about liberty, it is not primarily a job attraction tool”.  Greer even admitted that in “Oklahoma manufacturing went down since RTW”, just not as much as Dr Lafer stated.   The reason this was surprising was that Mark Guarino talked extensively on how the RTW push in Indiana was the claim it would boost jobs.

2) Businesses are not moving to NH because they do not have a RTW law. Another lie from the National RTW Committee.  Since 2001 when Oklahoma was pushing RTW, proponents have been saying that if you pass a RTW businesses will move in to Oklahoma.  Here in NH we have been hearing the same thing.  Dr Lafer disproved this with articles from the both the Area Development Magazin and the 2010 State New Economy Index.  Both poll businesses about the reasons they move into a new location. According to Lafer, “the State Economy Index publishes the top 26 reason for a company to choose a location, and RTW did not even make the top 26”.

3) Right to Work will strengthen New Hampshires economy.  Again there is no proof of this.  The National RTW committee talks about Oklahoma and the jobs they created yet, they have a higher unemployment rate than NH.  Actually Dr Lafer pointed out that “NH’s economy was not just better than the average of the RTW States, NH is actually better that almost all of the RTW states”.   What RTW does do is lower wages.  This is actually why RTW proponents say it will create a more “business friendly environment”.   So while Dr Lafer and Mr Guarino both agreed that RTW has been pushed as a “Job Creator” in Indiana and NH,  Mr Greer insisted that it was about “Liberty”.

So if you think that lower wages, higher poverty, and no new jobs, then pass Right To Work.  If you think that New Hampshire is doing better than almost every other state in the country then you should Oppose Right To Work in NH.


There was much more in this hour long interview and you can listen to it completely on the NHPR website.

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