Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul stepped up to the plate on ENDA, today! The two have announced that they are fully in support of…attaching…Right to Work…language…to…the…bill.
ENDA, or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act represents true protection for the LGBT community in the workplace, protecting against discrimination based on perceived or actual gender identity or orientation. ENDA is supported by over 70% of Americans, including 81% of Democrats, 74% of Independents, and 66% of Republicans. Even among people who think gay people are icky, there is 50% support for ENDA. In other words, this one is a no-brainer.
With such wide public support, and strong support in Congress as well, nothing can screw up this chance for our LGBT brothers and sisters to be treated fairly in the workplace…right?
Determined to screw things up, Mitch “The Turtle” McConnell and Rand “Footnotes” Paul have proposed an amendment that would tack Right to Work language onto a bill designed to lessen workplace discrimination against a group of people who sorely need the protection.
Paul and McConnell’s illogical proposal would add language that prevents companies and labor unions from entering into contracts that require that all employees share the cost of collective bargaining (the Union fighting for workers’ rights).
McConnell claims that over the years, “Big Labor” has come to care about its own perks and power than the workers it was charged with protecting.” Lauding Michigan’s Right to Work legislation, which was fast-tracked along the Republican legislature and signed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder, McConnell purported that such legislation would “tip the scales” back in favor of the workers.
Mitch claims that “all this is about” is making sure that those who do not wish to join unions do not have to.
However, that is not “all this is about.”
Right to Work legislation significantly weakens unions by effectively draining funding away from them. Since all workers are not required to pay their fair share toward collective bargaining expenses (yet the Union is still required to fight for all workers), it increases members’ costs and —since Conservatives enjoy the claim that money is free speech — lessens the union’s ability to practice its First Amendment rights.
Claims are often made that such laws encourage businesses to create jobs. This may, or may not be true. If it is, there are many reasons for that:
- On average, workers in states with Right to Work laws earn 3% lower wages than workers in states without RTW legislation. The average worker makes roughly $1,500 less annually, and the average hourly wage is nearly $3.00 lower. That’s one hell of a savings for businesses!
- In Right to Work states, women lose an additional 4.4% in wages (while men lose 1.7%), African Americans lose 4.8%, and Hispanics lose 4.4%. This seems like a perk to any group that, perhaps, continually works to disenfranchise those particular groups.
- With unions weakened significantly, worker benefits take a hit. In RTW states, the rate of employer-sponsored pensions nearly 5% lower.
- Companies in Right to Work states can terminate employment for virtually any reason, within law. This would provide creative employers alternatives in dealing with the “gay problem.”
Just think–something that has been decreasing the quality of life for workers in 24 states–on a national level! It’s like a Plutocrat’s dream come true!
Senator Dick Durbin (D-Il.) condemned the measure, saying that the law would further exacerbate the income inequality problem:
“Those who want to eliminate the opportunity for collective bargaining and make it more difficult for workers to stand up and speak for themselves in the workplace, I think frankly are going to condemn us to a much slower-growing economy and much more injustice when it comes to compensation.”
At the end of the day, this is just another extreme right wing attempt to sabotage matters of import in an effort to get what they want. If we want to make sure that they can’t discriminate against whomever they wish (let’s face it–they ARE running out of groups!), then workers should be willing to sacrifice job security, wages, and benefits. That’s fair, right?
Watch McConnell poke his head out of his shell to lie shamelessly: