New Right-to-Work (For Less) Battles at Local, State and Federal Levels

IAM Local 219 members on strike at the Bluegrass Station Army Depot in Lexington, KY, recently showed up to the local county courthouse to protest a local effort by national conservative advocacy groups to pass right-to-work (for less) legislation at the county level. Thanks to their overwhelming show of opposition, the proposal was withdrawn “until further discussion and proper notification.”

Big Business outsiders have their sights on making New Mexico the latest right-to-work (for less) state.

A bill, recently passed by the New Mexico House Business and Employment Committee, would force unions to represent workers who don’t pay their fair share of dues, weakening the bargaining power of all workers and further tilting power toward corporate interests. The dubiously-named Employee Preference Act now moves to the House Judiciary Committee.

NEW MEXICO RESIDENTS: Tell the New Mexico House of Representatives to reject Right-to-Work (For Less).

We’ve seen this before: Anti-union groups make grand promises of economic prosperity to struggling states if they pass right-to-work (for less) legislation, only to then take advantage of the workers’ low wages and lack of bargaining power. Workers in right-to-work states make about $1,500 less annually and have fewer benefits than workers in non-right-to-work states.

Right-to-work (for less) supporters and corporations see Wisconsin as another likely prospect for state-level action in 2015.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has already introduced legislation at the federal level. The bill currently has 76 original co-sponsors.

But it doesn’t stop there. Conservative advocacy groups like the Heritage Foundation, ALEC and a new organization known as Protect My Check, are currently focusing their efforts on a new strategy to enact right-to-work (for less) legislation at the city and county levels.

In Kentucky, IAM Local 219 members on strike at the Bluegrass Station Army Depot in Lexington recently showed up in full force to a meeting to discuss possible right-to-work (for less) legislation in Clark County.

“With a giant, inflatable pig in front of the courthouse and most of the approximately 50 people in attendance, the pro-union contingent came out in force,” read one news report.

The Bluegrass Machinists have been on strike against Lockheed Martin and Allsource Global Management since October 1, 2014. Because of their overwhelming show of opposition to the proposed right-to-work (for less) legislation, county leaders have since withdrawn the proposal “until further discussion and proper notification.”

The conservative advocacy groups have already managed to pass similar laws in five other Kentucky counties, and are themselves projecting to gain support in more than 20 of the state’s counties by the start of the 2015 March Madness college basketball season.

Federal lawsuits aimed at the counties where right-to-work (for less) legislation has passed is currently pending.  The lawsuits charge that local governments don’t have the right to create such legislation.