America 's Unions : The Cornerstone Of A Strong Working Class

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America’s unions are the cornerstone of a strong working class, providing political, societal , and economic empowerment. Since the conservative wave of 2010, however, a workers right to collectively bargain for higher wages and a better workplace is under attack, an attack fueled by fallacies about the benefits of right to work laws. As unions have come under attack from the proliferation of right to work laws, or laws that require unions to support all employees under a union contract without paying dues, the power and economic strength of America’s middle class has declined (Reich 2015). Essentially, strengthening America’s middle class begins with repealing right to work. Right to work laws entered into existence in 1947 with the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, which weakened the power of unions under the National Labor Relations Act, limiting workers ability to strike in addition to allowing for states to implement right to work laws (McCutcheon 2015). A right to work law allows for a worker to not pay union dues while receiving all the benefits of union bargaining, eroding a unions ability to serve as a voice for workers (Pasulka 2012). Between Taft-Hartley’s passage in 1947 and 1984 twenty-one states across the Southern and Western United States passed right to work laws (Pasulka 2012). The conservative wave in the 2010 election saw this policy of the past rise again in the most unlikely of places: union strongholds in the midwest. Since 2010 Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin have passed right to work laws with many other traditionally unionized states working to enact right to work (McCutcheon 2015). The consequences of the recent proliferation of right to work laws have been detrimental to America’s working class. ... ... middle of paper ... ...wever, in Indiana while 71 percent of voters supported a referendum creating an amendment to the state constitution that would repeal Right to Work, Republicans in the State Assembly blocked the ballot initiative (Waldorn, 2012). Repeal of right to work laws, specifically in the states of Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, will be contingent on shifting party balances in future state legislature elections. Unions and the Democratic party have set their sights on winning back state legislatures across the country and repealing right to work in future elections spending large amounts of time and money to undo the actions of the 2010 conservative wave, similar to the actions taken in Indiana in 1965 (Roller). As evident by the plethora of negative economic effects caused by right to work laws, strengthening America’s working class is continent upon repealing right to work.

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