County Right-to-Work Laws as the Latest Tactic to Undercut American Labor Unions

Source: Raymond Hogler, Scholars Strategy Network, Key Findings, April 2015

… What is unusual about local right-to-work laws is that they extend a legal rule far beyond its original understanding and encourage counties within a state to undermine wages in a quest for “competitiveness.” This approach, pitting some counties against others, will surely further a zero-sum game that reduces workers’ wages and bargaining power statewide – as has been true nationwide. Today’s anti-union agenda in Illinois and Kentucky is but the latest tactical innovation in a decades-long right-to-work campaign to undercut U.S. union power. … A major weakness of the U.S. labor movement has been its failure to develop coordinated state strategies to counter anti-union forces. The National Right to Work Committee that has pushed these laws was originally launched by Fred Koch, a founding member of the John Birch Society and the father of Charles and David Koch, today’s multibillionaire owners of Koch Industries and directors of ultra-conservative political campaigns. Supported by these and other wealthy conservatives, the American Legislative Exchange Council lobbies with great success across the states to urge legislators to pass various “model” bills furthering the conservative economic agenda, including right-to-work laws. ….