You’ve probably heard about the “right-to-work” law that Michigan passed in a hurry behind closed doors. But what does “right to work really mean, and how can we keep it out of Washington?
“Right-to-work” is a radical, anti-worker law that takes away working families’ ability to advocate for better standards.
The best opportunity we as workers have to make our voices heard and advocate for what our patients and our families need is through our union. Corporate America knows this and will do anything to take away the strength we have in our union. They cooked up “right-to-work” as a way to hobble unions and keep power concentrated in their CEO’s offices and board rooms.
The low standards in “right-to-work” states show the effect this scheme has. In the 23 states with these harmful laws (Michigan is the 24th), poverty rates are higher, wages are lower, and workers have fewer protections for their health and safety. With no unions to stand up to them, corporations have their way, at the cost of our communities. As the Washington Post says, “Under right-to-work laws, workers reap fewer gains from economic growth.”
It takes strong unions to hold corporations accountable and keep standards high for working families.
We’ve seen that harmful anti-working family laws like these can happen overnight. How can we make sure that “right-to-work” doesn’t come to Washington?
- We need to continue to educate ourselves, our coworkers, and our communities on political issues like “right-to-work.”
- We need to continue to show our strength at the ballot box to keep anti-worker candidates out of office.
- We have to hold politicians accountable for their positions on working families’ issues by lobbying in Olympia and Washington, DC.
- When politicians don’t stand with us, we need to make sure they don’t get re-elected.
We were successful in November in electing our new Governor, Jay Inslee, and a slate of candidates to office in Olympia and Washington, DC who support working families. We know that in electing these candidates, we not only protected our state from harmful anti-worker laws, but we also positioned ourselves to move forward with even better standards for our patients and our professions. We need to continue to work with them to make sure Washington shows that high standards mean everyone thrives—our communities, our patients, and our families.