Monday, September 03, 2007

Right To Work Laws Crush The American Dream For Working People

More than anything, right to work laws which have spread like a deadly cancer throughout many states in the United States have crushed the American dream for many working people and condemned workers to a low living wage basement with hard work and little to show for their efforts. Many nonunion workers will never be able to afford a home, while some union workers may own more than one home by comparison.

Nothing better illustrates this the huge wage gap between those who work in free states where workers are free to join a labor union if they wish and the low wages of the right to work states. Mississippi, a right to work state is #49 in median income with just $33,659 compared to a free state like Maryland where the median income is $65,144 by comparison. The only nonright to work state with a very low median income is West Virginia because of the severe poverty in many areas and the fact that not every worker is a unionized member of the United Mine Workers Union for example.

The fact of the matter is when workers only earn half of the wages of their counterparts in more wealthy unionized states, then it is much harder to pay for housing, health care, or provide for their family. For the many union workers, union dues, usually around $20-30 a month include pension plans with as much as $1,700 or more in monthly retirement payments, health care programs, the ability to borrow money at very low interest rates from the credit union, job security and increased worker safety protections against injury or loss of life on the job in addiition to wages often 27% or more higher than their nonunionized counterparts. There is no better bargain for the mere $20-30 a month in union dues than this for the American working class.

If American workers would all like to share in the American dream, then getting rid of the oppressive right to work laws in every state is an important starting point. Right to work laws are wage and worker oppression. They must all go if all American workers want any hope to eventually share in the American dream.


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