Nearly 60 million people say they would join a union today if they could. The problem? Union-busters, big business and woefully outdated laws continue to undermine the right to collectively bargain.
Just take “right to work” laws, for example. Across the country, anti-worker legislators are relentlessly fighting to pass right to work, which has a more than 70-year track record of lowering wages, reducing benefits and making workplaces more dangerous.
Right to work is a Jim Crow relic that was specifically designed to keep white and Black workers apart, playing on our worst fears to keep working people divided, poor and weak. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called it a false slogan, designed to rob us of our job rights and our civil rights.
Here are the results: On average, workers in states with right to work laws make nearly $9,000 less per year than workers in states without these laws ($50,174 compared with $59,163).
In 2019, 24% of jobs in right to work states were in low-wage occupations, compared to just 14.5% of jobs in other states.
The rate of workplace deaths is 37% higher in states with right to work laws.
But now we have a chance to put right to work where it belongs—in the trash bin of history, with the poll tax and separate but equal doctrine.
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would override these laws and strike a major victory for civil rights as our country demands racial and economic justice.
The PRO Act was passed by the House last year but was blocked in the Senate. This year, we have another chance to make history.
President, Ohio State Association of Letter Carriers