Monday, January 16, 2012

King: 'Right to work' laws a 'fraud' on workers

South Carolina has been a so-called right-to-work -- otherwise known as a right-to-work-for-less -- state since adopting its anti-worker law in 1954.

Seven years later, Martin Luther King Jr. commented on so-called right-to-work laws:

In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. . . 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.

Indeed. King was right then, and he's been proven right in the half-century since then.

According to independent studies conducted by the Economic Policy Institute and the University of Notre Dame, wages in “right-to-work” states are significantly less than in states without “right-to-work” laws. These studies show that the “right-to-work” laws lead to lower wages and drive down the overall living standards in communities.

Wonder why today's educator salaries are so consistently low? King told us why in 1961.

Hooray for our South Carolina, where the poor work hard and wealthy hardly work.

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