Corporations and politicians are aware that when workers collectively bargain, they generate increases in wages and benefits. That becomes a threat to non-union industries that must raise wages and benefits to keep employees from unionizing or leaving to join a union shop.
Corporations are aware that in states with right-to-work programs, wages and benefits fall below national averages, thus generating higher profits. So right-to-work is essentially an attack on organized labor and non-union wage earners.
Another roll of unionism is politics. Labor has a long history of pursuing legislation that benefits all wage earners — higher minimum wage laws, universal health care, health and safety regulations and many others. Success in these efforts are directly related to being able to mobilize support in a political atmosphere.
Unfortunately, under right-to-work laws, funds required for these efforts shrink.
One simple fact is that neither “right-to-work” or “organized labor” systems affect unemployment very much. However, unionism increases wages while right-to-work states have lower median incomes.
Increased wages lead to increased consumer activity, thus improving the economy of the state. Maine has a serious budget problem.
Right-to-work proponents are concerned with profits, not employees' quality of life.
The fight is far from over, regardless of LD 786 and LD 831 going down in flames in Augusta.
Bruce Hixon, Bowdoin, IAMAW Local S6