Today, Teamsters and working families are under attack in state legislatures across the country by billionaires and corporations threatening to destroy the American way of life. These special interests seek to increase their own profits by decreasing middle-class wages and creating unsafe work places.
This war on workers is funded by the usual suspects of economic greed: the Koch brothers, Wall Street banks, Fortune 500 CEOs, ALEC and the WalMart heirs. At the expense of the American middle class, these people try to justify even greater personal profits.
One common attack on the rights of workers is dangerous legislation called right to work, which would weaken laws designed to protect the middle class and working families. Right to work is a complicated, controversial and confusing gimmick designed to destroy unions and all workers’ voices on the job by tearing apart Teamster contracts negotiated between employers and employees that guarantee representation of all employees at a workplace.
Right-wing legislators and their corporate backers try to sell right to work as a law that will create jobs, but the truth is far from it. Of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rate in 2016, seven are right-to-work states. In fact, poverty rates are nearly 20% higher in right-to-works states. Household income in right-to-work states is more than $6,000 less a year, which can make the difference between being above or below the poverty line in many states. Right to work isn’t just bad for Teamster members, but it also destroys the communities we live in. This divisive measure doesn’t create jobs, but it will rob you and your family of a prosperous future.
Right to work weakens unions and their members enough to threaten health care benefits and employers’ retirement plans in our contracts. Right to work sacrifices your health and retirement for pure profit, while workers are left behind. Workers under the age of 65 in right-to-work states are 40% more likely to lack employer sponsored health insurance, and those workers in right-to-work states fortunate enough to have health insurance pay higher premiums and deductibles to cover the uninsured.
Schools in right-to-work states spend $2,600 less per student, hindering our children’s future and ability to succeed. When our children graduate they have even less opportunity in right-to-work states, where low-wage jobs account for a higher share of available jobs, hurting families for generations to come.
Deaths on the job are over 50% more likely in states with right-to-work laws due to less oversight by unions and dangerously less regulation pushed by corporations bent on increasing profits at the expense of workers’ safety. Right to work doesn’t just hurt our wallets; it puts people’s lives in jeopardy.
Right to work is a failed economic strategy that increases corporate profits at the expense of the entire middle class. Only by standing together can we stop dangerous and destructive right-to-work laws and protect the middle class. We shouldn’t do it only for ourselves; we must do it for all working families and our community.