OLYMPIA (Feb. 8, 2017) — Union members and their community supporters will rally at the State Capitol today (Wednesday, Feb. 8), the day the Republican-controlled Senate plans a public hearing on legislation that would make Washington a so-called “Right-to-Work” state.
State Sens. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) and John Braun (R-Centralia) have sponsored the anti-union bill, SB 5692, and scheduled it for a public hearing in the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee chaired by Baumgartner. That will be at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 4 of the J.A. Cherberg Building.
Opponents of the bill plan to rally at 12:30 p.m. outside that building at the Sundial before attending the hearing. Get more details or RSVP at this Facebook event page.
SB 5692, which was just introduced a week ago today, would ban unions and employers in Washington state from agreeing to union-security clauses in collective bargaining contracts. Such a ban allows and, in fact, encourages workers to stop paying for representation because the union must still represent them. It would be like allowing people to opt out of paying taxes, but still requiring the government to provide the same services to taxpayers and free-riders alike.
Right-to-Work laws have roots in Southern racism and the Jim Crow-era quest for super-exploited labor. They are used to justify racial exclusion, weaken established collective bargaining agreements, and financially cripple unions so they can’t help workers organize. Once confined to states in the South, Republican-controlled states like Michigan and Wisconsin have adopted right-to-work laws in recent years with the support of conservative billionaire industrialists like the Koch brothers. States where Republicans just gained control following the 2016 elections, including Missouri and New Hampshire, have made the passage of Right-to-Work laws their first order of business in 2017.
The Washington state “Right-to-Work effort led by Sens. Baumgartner and Braun is part of a national campaign by Republicans to deliver a severe blow to the labor movement and weaken workers’ collective bargaining rights at the behest of U.S. corporations.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand:
“Right-to-Work” is a cynical power grab (by Stan Sorscher)