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“Right to Work” Rears Its Ugly Head Again

It must be Groundhog Day. There’s another Supreme Court case that could “deal a major blow to labor unions.”

Yes, the National Right to Work Foundation is getting another chance to impose “Right to Work” on the entire nation through Supreme Court fiat.

Nevermind how voters may feel about it. After Maine lawmakers passed “Right to Work” in 1947, voters repealed the law by a two-to-one majority. In 1958, California and Colorado voters refused “Right to Work” by three-to-two margins; Ohio voters turned it down two-to-one; and voters in the state of Washington said “no” by a margin of nine-to-five. Ohio lawmakers ignored the 1958 ballot results and passed “Right to Work” in 2011; and voters repealed the law by an overwhelming margin. Missouri lawmakers passed “Right to Work” last year; but the law is now on hold, and voters will have the final say in a referendum this fall.

Nevermind the state legislatures that have had second thoughts about “Right to Work.” In both New Hampshire and Delaware, state legislatures adopted “Right to Work” in 1947 – and then repealed it in 1949. Louisiana’s legislature passed “Right to Work” in 1954 and repealed it in 1956 (and then passed it again in 1976). Indiana passed “Right to Work” in 1957 and repealed it in 1965 (and then passed it again in 2012).

Nevermind that conservatives are supposed to be opposed to judicial activism. The National Right to Work Foundation wants the Supreme Court to make “Right to Work” the law of the land. The Foundation has been using court cases to chip away at labor unions since 1968 – and they’re proud of it. You can read a list of the court cases they’ve brought against unions here.

If they succeed, what happens next? All the press coverage has been about the potential damage to labor unions. But what about

Government contracting? The National Right to Work Foundation wants the Supreme Court to rule that government contracting is an “inherently political” process. That may sound good to the Foundation, in the context of union-busting, but what about the rest of government contracting? At last report, the federal government negotiated more than 3.8 million contracts a year, totaling about $440 billion in spending – and about 2% of the federal workforce was made up of “contract professionals” (who are not union members). What happens if the Supreme Court adds “politics” to the list of reasons a procurement decision can be challenged? Will taxpayers or business competitors be able to challenge contract decisions on the basis of politics? (For instance, the $24 million refrigerator upgrade to Air Force One – was that decision tainted by the $16.7 million in lobbying that Boeing paid for, last year? The more than $1 million its PAC has “invested” in this year’s federal campaigns? The more than $2 million it spent on the 2016 campaigns?)

Employers’ rights? The National Right to Work Foundation wants the Supreme Court to rule that an employee’s “right” to not associate with the union takes precedence over his employer’s right to determine conditions of employment. That may sound good to the Foundation, in the context of union-busting, but what about the rest of employer-employee relations? What happens when an employer requires a security clearance, but the employee wants to associate with terrorist organizations? When an employer wants to maintain a mainstream “brand” but the employee wants to use Facebook and Twitter to advertise his association with the American Nazi Party?

States’ rights to decide the terms and conditions of their workers’ employment?

40 years’ worth of judicial precedents, not just in labor law, but also First Amendment interpretation? (If workers’ First Amendment rights trump their public employers’ interests, won’t that open the floodgates for “leaks” to the press?)

What about all the other potential ramifications of this case?

Yep, it’s Groundhog Day. Another opportunity for the Supreme Court to overlook long-term consequences, in a case brought by political insiders.

Remember Citizens United? Citizens United President David Bossie is on the GOP’s National Committee and a “veteran conservative operative.” The Supreme Court used his court case to overturn campaign finance laws. Now Congress is openly doing what their donors (not voters) want. Read the Brennan Center’s How Citizens United Changed Politics and Shaped the Tax Bill.  Read Politico’s Big donors ready to reward Republicans for tax cuts. Is this really what the Supreme Court had in mind, when it ruled in Citizens United?

Remember Hobby Lobby? Salon describes how Hobby Lobby is “quietly funding a vast right-wing movement.” The Supreme Court used its case to give religious rights to for-profit corporations, and now we’re beginning to see the consequences. Cardozo Law Review explored how employers could use the Hobby Lobby decision to sidestep employment-discrimination laws. And at least one federal court has already allowed a corporation to fire an employee for “religious” reasons, notwithstanding the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Notice how “Right to Work” is being pushed by special-interest organizations? The Koch-connected American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity. The Koch-affiliated US Chamber of Commerce. And, of course, the Koch-funded National Right to Work groups. Notice how it’s not being pushed by actual businesses? Not in New Hampshire. Not in Ohio. But the ripple effect of this court case could be huge.

Groundhog Day. Janus v. AFSCME. Another chance for the Supreme Court to reinforce the impression that it’s an extension of the Republican Party. After all the headlines about Merrick Garland and Neil Gorsuch, what are citizens supposed to think? Both President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell claim Justice Gorsuch as “an accomplishment.” The RNC based a fundraising campaign on his confirmation. The Court just blocked a lower court’s order that North Carolina redraw its election maps, because the old maps were unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering that favored the GOP. (And now Pennsylvania’s GOP legislators want the Court to block a similar ruling in their state.)

Groundhog Day. Another attack by the special interests that have been transforming our government into an oligarchy. (“Oligarchy” – government by the few, especially despotic power exercised by a small and privileged group for corrupt or selfish purposes)

Voters’ view, last election day: 72 percent agree “the American economy is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful.” 75 percent agree that “America needs a strong leader to take the country back from the rich and powerful.”

Granite Staters’ view, now: only 14% think voters have more influence than special interests.

Groundhog Day, the movie, reminds us that we can be doomed to repeat the same thing over and over until we “get it right.” (How fitting that the movie is now back in theaters for its 25th anniversary.)

It’s supposed to be our government. When are we going to get this right?

The Truth Behind Ohio Governor Kasich’s Story

Ohio Governor In New Hampshire To Share “Ohio Story”: Kasich Policies Have Decimated Local Communities and Attacked The Middle Class in Ohio

Governor John Kasich Caricature  (Image by DonkeyHotey)

Governor John Kasich Caricature
(Image by DonkeyHotey)

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Ohio Governor John Kasich arrived today in New Hampshire to share the “Ohio Story” and continue what has been a peculiar approach to a presidential campaign so far.  While in New Hampshire, Kasich is expected to tout Ohio’s recovery while attempting to show he is a bona fide conservative.

Unfortunately, the facts in Ohio don’t match up with Kasich’s political rhetoric.

The heart of Kasich’s approach in Ohio has been the same trickle-down policies that have consistently failed nationwide.

In order to give tax breaks to the wealthy, Kasich has raided local government and school funds year after year, resulting in lay-offs of teachers, firefighters and emergency services around the state, and local tax increases in the form of local municipal and school tax levies. He has also proposed tax increase after tax increase on lower income Ohioans in order to pay for his tax cuts for the wealthy.

“If John Kasich ran the nation the way he does Ohio, state governments would be forced to forfeit their money to Washington where the spending would then increase.  He would force states do the hard work of cutting costs, and then take the credit,” stated Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper.

Kasich has been testing the waters of a presidential run, but in a strange way–traveling to states like Wyoming and Arizona to grandstand on his widely discredited idea for a federal balanced budget Constitutional amendment.

“John Kasich should’ve checked the facts before coming to New Hampshire to tout his ‘Ohio story’ of putting special interests first while making middle class families pay the price,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley.

“Under Governor Maggie Hassan’s leadership, New Hampshire is moving in the right direction, with an unemployment rate that’s a full point lower than Ohio’s. Not to mention that New Hampshire’s median household income in 2013 was the highest in the nation, and more than $25,000 greater than Ohio’s. If John Kasich thought that Granite Staters would be impressed by his failed ‘Ohio story,’ he’s going to be sorely disappointed,” added Buckley.

Ohio Chairman Pepper added: “the Kasich trickle-down approach has kept Ohio’s recovery lagging behind other states’. The last thing our country needs is more of these same failed policies.”

Let us not forget how Governor Kasich attacked working families by ramming through a repeal of collective bargaining in Ohio.  Senate Bill 5 was an all out assault on organized labor in Ohio and Governor Kasich stood behind it the entire way.

In a ‘secret video’ Gov. Kasich thanks Koch Brothers union busting front group, the Americans for Prosperity for their support.


Working families prevailed in Ohio, despite Gov. Kasich his anti-worker agenda.  Labor and community activists joined together to gather 1.3 million signatures demanding a repeal of Senate Bill 5.  “There were so many signatures collected that it took a team of retired police officers and firefighters four hours to unload the 1,502 boxes carrying the petitions.

After a long and drawn out battle, Senate Bill 5 was overturned by the voters.


We already have one anti-union, anti-worker Governor attempting to run for President.  Now we have this guy too.


Statement from OH AFL-CIO on defeat of NH right to work

CONTACT: Mike Gillis, 216.334.9068
Statement from Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga
on defeat of Right-to-work-for-less bill in New Hampshire
Steelworkers, electricians, firefighters and all working Ohioans congratulate New Hampshire working families on their victory today in defeating the partisan push to override New Hampshire Governor Lynch’s veto of a right-to-work-for-less bill.  This is victory for working people and the 99% — and it’s clearly another signal in states that are facing these right wing attacks on the middle class and workers’ voices.  Just a few weeks ago, Ohio working people defeated a similar attack as Ohioans overwhelmingly rejected Issue 2, a bill that was pushed by the same people and groups that were behind the legislation in New Hampshire.  This trend is no coincidence.  Working Americans are standing together like never before and saying ‘enough’ to the extreme partisan politics and the top 1%.  Just as working people took a stand and won in Ohio, workers’ voices were heard today — and in New Hampshire, Ohio, and across the country, the 99% are better for it.

SEA /SEIU NH: Response to Ohio

Ohio’s Solidarity with Working Families Rings True in New Hampshire

Concord, NH, November 9, 2011 – The people of Ohio have spoken. Last night’s victory for the working people of this nation is an encouraging sign that just maybe we’ve reached a tipping point and America’s middle class has had enough. Ohio voters struck down SB5 (Issue 2) by a stunning margin of 62-38. SB5 was an attack on collective bargaining rights and their families’ well-being. President Becky Williams on behalf of the Service Employees International Union, District 1199 (Ohio) said “The citizens of our state have spoken and they stand in solidarity with our everyday heroes like nurses, parole officers and other public employees.” And, families around the country are also standing in solidarity. According to SEIU International President, Mary Kay Henry, “…all over the nation, the 99 percent–firefighters, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, snowplow drivers, bridge inspectors and social workers–are cheering because in Ohio, working people sent a message loud and clear that they will not be easy prey for extremist politicians who put political ideology above the best interests of working people.”
This message rings true – and loudly — right in Concord. The New Hampshire House of Representatives is still grappling with a vetoed bill from the last legislative session – the so-called “Right to Work” Bill. This bill weakens collective bargaining rights. It adversely affects the individuals who teach our children; protect our communities and keep citizens safe; keep our streets plowed and open for businesses to thrive; attend to our aging and other vulnerable populations; and rescue children and families from burning buildings. House Speaker O’Brien has called a number of special sessions in order to override the Governor’s veto of this bill. Each time, he has avoided calling for the vote because he continues to lack sufficient support to reach the override. More than 5,000 people have made their voice heard in Concord, and over 140 state representatives have stood proudly in their opposition to this bill. It has been reported that the Speaker has scheduled another session on November 30, 2011.
“We are encouraged by the victory in Ohio, and we congratulate the people of Ohio for standing up for what is right. They have refused to turn their backs on public workers and the people they serve. They have made clear that they want good jobs in their state, quality public services, and leaders that will support the middle class.” said Diana Lacey, SEA President. “We cannot become complacent, though. There is still work to be done in New Hampshire. Speaker O’Brien has called another special session where he may take up the matter of overriding the Right To Work veto. Further, there are over 700 new bills being introduced in this coming session. Dozens are designed to continue the assault against middle class workers here in NH, decimate public employees and the services they provide to citizens.”

A statement from NEA-NH on OHIO Results….

NEA-NH celebrates Ohio results

Reacting to news from Ohio last night, Rhonda Wesolowski, president of NEA-NH issued the following statement:

The 17,000 members of NEA-NH celebrate with the citizens of Ohio who made their voices heard,
sending a clear message to every elected official who thinks the people who tend to the sick, protect their
neighborhoods, teach their children, serve those in need and run into burning buildings don’t deserve a
voice through collective bargaining to think again. We don’t turn our backs on the people who watch ours.
The overwhelming margin of victory clearly indicates that this issue is important to voters of every
affiliation, Democratic, Republican and Independent alike, and must be seen as a public mandate to
preserve those rights that have helped secure the growth and prosperity of the middle class for decades.
Voters from every party in Ohio have rejected the agenda of scapegoating the hardworking public servants
in this country. They know that it was Wall Street not firefighters, teachers and nurses who tanked the
economy. And they also know that public employees have been doing our part to get it back on the right
course. There is a price to pay for turning your back on the middle class and Ohio voters made that clear
We encourage our elected officials in Concord to use the results from last night’s election as motivation to
focus their efforts this upcoming session on creating jobs in New Hampshire, protecting the middle class,
and ending their attacks on the livelihood and rights of the dedicated public servants of this state.
Contact E-mail:  gstrout@nhnea.org

Statement from New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie: Ohio, Maine election results a clear win for working families

Contact: Nora Frederickson 603-785-4211
Statement from New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie:
Ohio, Maine election results a clear win for working families
In Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and across the country, including here in New Hampshire, working families want to see politicians do the jobs they were elected to do – to build an economy that restores balance and creates jobs instead of one that works only for CEOs and special interest groups.
Today Ohioans resoundingly vetoed legislation that would have taken collective bargaining rights away from teachers, firefighters and first responders – sending a strong message that politicians need to stand with working families and stand for building a strong middle class.
And in Maine, the voters’ sound rejection of legislation that would have eliminated same-day voters registration sent a clear signal that attempts to silence the middle class amount to a losing agenda for politicians.
This election should be a wake-up call for Speaker O’Brien and other extremist Tea Party politicians in our legislation about what happens when politicians go too far. Voters in New Hampshire want to see action that creates jobs and creates an economy that works for everyone. We can start heading in the right direction by passing legislation like a federal jobs bills that will repair deficient bridges and roads and get Granite Staters back to work.
Our elected officials need to focus on creating jobs in order to get our economy back on track. Together we can create an economy that works for the 99 percent.

We just made history in Ohio ( A message from the AFL-CIO)

Dear Matthew,

I’m in Ohio right now, where working families just won an incredible victory. 

Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to repeal Senate Bill 5—Gov. John Kasich’s attack on middle-class jobs that was designed to destroy collective bargaining rights in Ohio.

We pieced together a short, powerful video summing up the amazing energy that went into this. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch:

Watch now.
Tonight’s victory represents a turning point in our collective work to protect good jobs, working families and workplace rights. But it’s more than that. It’s a long-overdue return to common sense. 

From the very beginning of our jobs crisis, anti-worker politicians like Ohio’s Gov. Kasich have used our poor economy to push a cynical political agenda that favors the richest 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. Today, Ohio voters rejected that agenda. 

During this campaign, firefighters, nurses, teachers and other public employees were joined by construction workers, bakery workers and all kinds of private-sector workers. They came together to ensure the survival of the middle class. And together, we’ll keep doing it. Politicians who side with the richest 1 percent will find their radical efforts stopped by working people who want America to work for everyone.

Watch the energy and dedication that went into this huge victory—and join us.

This is our moment, and we won with solidarity. We won because the working people of Ohio—public and private sector, union and nonunion—stood together.

But the solidarity went even further than that: Volunteers traveled not just from neighboring Wisconsin—but from states as far away as California and New York—to help get out the vote. And activists from dozens of states as far away as Alaska gave up their nights and weekends to call Ohio voters from home. 

Solidarity means that when workers anywhere are under attack, we will all do whatever we can to help. It means we’re in it together.

Watch our video. See what solidarity looks like. 

I hope you’ll celebrate this moment in your own way. But the most important thing is to find a way to keep your own energy going and growing—so you can be a part of sustaining and growing our movement for all working people—the 99 percent.

This fight we’ve taken on and won—and the threats we face going forward—are about more than Democrats or Republicans, or 2012 battleground states. They are about good jobs and our right to a voice on the job.

Together, we’re building a new kind of politics. A politics that works for the 99 percent, not just the 1 percent. 

We’ve got to start getting ready now to win tomorrow’s victories. Over time—together—we’ll build a future that works for working America.

Thank you for being a part of this movement, and for all you do for America’s workers.

In Solidarity,

Richard L. Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

P.S. America is waking up. Here’s one big reason we won in Ohio—people can see that the firefighters, teachers, nurses and snowplow drivers hurt by SB 5 didn’t cause our economic problems. Wall Street did. Ohio voters saw through Senate Bill 5—they understood it was a plan to make the 99 percent bear the burden of Wall Street’s recklessness—and that it would do nothing to create jobs. 

Take a moment to watch the incredible energy that went into this win.

To find out more about the AFL-CIO, please visit our website at www.aflcio.org.
Click here to unsubscribe.

It’s the Economy, Stupid- Public Sector Unions are not the Cause of State Budget Deficits

I thought I would share this article with you. It talks about Collective Bargaining and the lie that has been created that Unions and the Middle Class are to blame.

It’s the Economy, Stupid- Public Sector Unions are not the Cause of State Budget Deficits: “Ohio voters will decide “Issue 2” on Tuesday, Nov.8, a referendum on a law which limits collective bargaining for government employee unions. As many as 12 other states (including Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Arizona, Idaho, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming) have already enacted anti-union legislation, which proponents justified with claims that public sector unions are behind the state budget deficits.

Their central argument does not withstand scrutiny. A report I co-authored with two of my colleagues from UC Berkeley, entitled “The Wrong Target: Public Sector Unions and State Budget Deficits,” analyzes the relationship between public sector workers, their unions, and state budget deficits. We found the that budget shortfalls in states across the United States were caused by the housing bubble burst and the continuing effects of the great recession, and not public sector workers or their unions.”

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