As we pursue social and economic justice, we know there are movements to limit worker power, curb economic empowerment, and undermine collective bargaining. Right to Work, not aptly named, seeks not to promote freedom, but rather to undercut unions’ ability to operate and organize effectively. At the Labor Guild, we stand in opposition to legislation that undermines people’s ability to work together, form unions, and pursue justice through bargaining.
The most recent iteration of this legislation affects our friends, colleagues, and students in New Hampshire. We are in solidarity with you, opposing this legislation.
As an educational organization, we have put together this page to help the Labor Guild stand up for workers’ rights.
The New Hampshire Families For Freedom Campaign has many great resources: https://nhfamiliesforfreedom.org/
We applaud Ed Foley, a friend of the guild, retired Business Representative of Sheet Metal Workers Local 17, and a former President of the New Hampshire State Building & Construction Trades Council for presenting his testimony on the bill. It integrated the Labor Guild’s mission and vision from the lens of Catholic social teaching, read it here: Ed Foley Testimony on SB 61.
New Hampshire “Right To Work” law would cost our families, it isn’t freedom
Workers in RTW States Earn Less:
- The most recent Census and Bureau of Labor Standards data shows that the median income in New Hampshire is higher than EVERY one of the 27 “Right to Work” states.
- The median income is about $10,000 lower in so-called RTW states.
- Wages in RTW states are 3.1 percent lower than those in non-RTW states, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute. This translates into RTW being associated with lower annual wages for a typical full-time, full-year worker.
Tradespeople need safety on the job, right to have a say
- Workplace fatalities are 49% higher in “RTW” states. We want the ability to safely do our jobs.
- When we can speak up about unsafe or unfair conditions, workplaces are safer, more equitable, and produce quality craftsmanship.
- Unions train our own – we aren’t reliant on a program run, sponsored, or paid for by state government. We ensure safe, high-quality standards in our well-run skilled apprenticeship programs.
Who’s really behind this?
- One lobbyist in NH is the driving force, and he arranged for thousands in campaign contributions from different but similarly named Political Action Committees. He’s the New Hampshire face, but it’s the corporate interests from D.C. and across the country who are funneling this money through him into the state.
- Large corporations just want to break down the ability of working people to stick together and earn a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. It’s not about New Hampshire for them, it’s about rolling their cookie-cutter corporate agenda out across the country.
- This RTW initiative is one of several “astroturf” campaigns launched by an out-of-state supported political group.
Right to work is wrong:
- RTW supporters falsely claim that such laws just ensure that no worker can be forced to be a member of a union or to pay for political causes they don’t support. But all those things are already illegal under federal law. RTW’s true agenda is to weaken union bargaining strength by making it harder for unions to raise vital operating funds, or require that a worker who benefits from a good contract contributes their fair share to defray the costs that went into securing the benefits of that contract.
Why is the government sticking its nose into this?:
- Too often, government makes bad situations worse. RTW measures are a prime example of government overreach. If a workplace dispute arises between employees and their employer, shouldn’t they be able to work it out themselves before running to the government? Doesn’t that make more sense than having the government interfere in the workplace?
- Backers donated thousands of dollars each to the campaigns of several local politicians, who are now more interested in doing what their donors want than doing what’s best for the people of New Hampshire.
RTW doesn’t mean you have a right to work:
- RTW laws do not give any sort of worker job protection. In fact, it’s easier for an employer to fire a worker under RTW laws than it is to fire one who is part of a union.
- The term ‘Right to Work’ was coined and popularized a century ago by an anti-union political operative and an anti-union, out of state organization.