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Why Workers Everywhere Should Be Scared by Kentucky’s Assault on Unions


Why Workers Everywhere Should Be Scared by Kentucky’s Assault on Unions

John Nichols

“A lot of working people voted for change in this election,” argued Bill Finn, the director of the Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council. “They didn’t vote for this. They didn’t vote for a pay cut.”


Workers should be scared of these laws but this article should explain what is meant by 'right to work' laws. For people my age, we may know and understand but for younger people, they may likely have no idea.
"assaults of worker rights do little or nothing to promote economic development—and much to harm working families" Starts out well but ends up not telling us why and what the harm but instead goes to mention someone in opposition, whose quote is great but again conclusory rather than explanatory.

It would be much more informative to give a breakdown of the negative outcomes of these laws, for example by using statistics to show the comparisons in wage growth and/or median incomes between RTW states and non. Also, it would be informative, to discuss what the long term consequences are of not requiring union dues from people working under a union-negotiated contract rather than just assume it's bad.

This article seems to be an excellent example of preaching to the choir, the only ones who are going to know what he are talking about. But I don't think the choir needs preaching to. I think the rest of the folks need thoughtful explanations with no preaching at all.


And who did Trumka support for President? There is some major disconnect when states like Kentucky and West Virginia support Republicans????


There is no disconnect when West Virginia and Kentucky support Republicans when you consider that most of the US electorate has been voting against its own best interests at least since Saint Ron was elected in 1980. Even after he screwed them royal an amazing number of blue collar workers love Ron today as much or more than they did when he screwed them.

Kentucky is hardly the only state where 2017 will be the year of big union shafting. Union friends in Missouri tell me that they are certain Missouri will be right to work within months and most of the union members there din't give a rip.


In the 1980s, it was middle class workers who railed against unions, writing them off as "leftist organizations" (but mostly, complaining about union dues). By today, few unions remain, and those that still hang on are toothless lions.

In the years since the Reagan Revolution began (yes, it actually has been ongoing), the US shut down/shipped out a huge number of jobs, ended actual welfare aid in the 1990s. What we did was create a huge surplus of job-ready people who are absolutely desperate for any job at any wage -- grateful for the chance to replace you for less than you are paid. It's survival, and there's nothing to fall back on. Since Clinton, we have expanded the share of workers who can be paid even less than minimum wage.

Now what? I don't know. Workers can't risk losing their jobs by "rising up," knowing there's nothing to fall back on.


Trumka, as I understand it, supported Clinton. The south has long been the home of the US right wing.


President Abraham Lincoln, that “Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

I had never realised that Abraham Lincoln was a Marxist. I think Putin must have played a part in his wining that election.