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Child miners? More union propaganda against right-to-work

Child miners? More union propaganda against right-to-work

This article originally appeared on watchdog.org.

Union coalition AFL-CIO is framing labor reforms in West Virginia and Missouri as attacks on workers’ rights that would undo a century of safety laws.

Legislators in both states are considering right-to-work laws, which prevents unions from taking mandatory fees from nonmembers. Missouri lawmakers are also considering paycheck protection, which requires unions to get a member’s consent before deducting dues from their pay.

AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., receives forced dues money by way of its private-sector affiliates in both states, and is hammering reform bills as “controversial” while attempting to create controversy around them.

On Tuesday, AFL-CIO shared a warning against right-to-work on its Facebook page, using a grim photo of child miners as a plea not to let legislators “turn back the clock.”

“Oppose Right to Work laws that make the workplace unsafe for West Virginia workers,” AFL-CIO wrote in a post, with the photo also asserting, “Right to Work is DANGEROUS for West Virginia.”

“Extreme politicians in Charleston are putting our communities in danger,” a West Virginia AFL-CIO recording at the promoted toll-free number insists. “Instead of focusing on good jobs, they are pushing a controversial and unsafe right-to-work bill that would hurt us all.

“This bill would make it harder for workers to bargain for full-time jobs, safe workplaces, good benefits and fair pay,” West Virginia AFL-CIO continues, warning, “This puts us all in danger.”

Last month, the D.C. headquarters of AFL-CIO affiliate American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees made similar claims with an infographic suggesting right-to-work is deadly.

Despite assertions from AFL-CIO, AFSCME and West Virginia AFL-CIO, right-to-work laws in no way limit workers’ ability to organize, join or collectively bargain through a labor union. Right-to-work only lets nonmembers opt out of paying union fees.

Right-to-work has no impact on existing local, state or federal occupational safety laws, and does not restrict the ability of workers to negotiate new safety policies with employers.

On Feb. 2, AFL-CIO posted a slightly less dire graphic on its Facebook page warning right-to-work and “paycheck deception” — the label unions use for paycheck protection laws — would “silence the voices of Missouri workers.”

Right-to-work laws prevent workers from taking forced fees from nonmembers, and paycheck protection laws require unions to get member approval before deducting dues from their paychecks. Neither policy does anything to “silence” workers.

A recording at the toll-free number for AFL-CIO’s Missouri campaign does not explain how making union dues optional or requiring consent for payroll dues has the effect of silencing workers.

Before prompting for a zip code to connect callers with their state legislators, Missouri AFL-CIO warns, “some politicians are pushing controversial and unnecessary laws that will hurt Missouri’s middle-class families and our local schools.”

“Paycheck deception and so-called right-to-work laws would silences the voices of Missouri workers and limit our rights at work,” the Missouri AFL-CIO recording continues. “These bills would make it harder for workers like nurses, teachers and firefighters to bargain for better equipment, safer workplaces and fair pay. These laws hurt all of us.”

AFL-CIO failed to respond to a Watchdog.org request for clarification or comment on its arguments against right-to-work and paycheck protection in West Virginia and Missouri.

 


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