COMMUNITY VOICE: Why Right to Work is Wrong

It’s hard for me to write about what’s going on currently in our state, pertaining to Right To Work laws without flipping my laptop off of my lap and raising hell. I don’t see how anyone in their right mind can go along with this. But this all originated in the south in a time where ignorance reigned supreme, so I guess commonsense is out of the question.

Brief history lesson, kids. Right to Work laws are heavily rooted in racist propaganda. Without taking too long focusing on the history, Right to Work started in 1936 coming out of Texas from a group called The Christian American Association, started by Vance Muse. Yea, 1930’s, Texas Christians, I think we see where this is going. And Muse lobbied against it all, from Women’s Suffrage, the child-labor amendment, the 8-hour workday, you name it.

I bring that brief history up, because all the time now when I talk about Right To Work people always ask me what it is and it’s basically a union busting strategy. What they want to do is this: they want to take away things like prevailing wage and people’s need to pay into a union, which fights for your rights, benefits, and much more. Even if you aren’t apart of a union, people don’t understand that a huge part of history in this country is rooted in the fight for simple but necessary worker rights. Have you ever seen the old pictures of the construction workers sitting on the iron beams of an unfinished skyscraper, and thought “man, that totally looks unsafe and crazy?” Well it was, but back then company owners didn’t care if you lived or died, and if you fell there were 50 other guys lined up ready to take your place.

A bit extreme on this subject, but it’s not really. I want you to understand this is bigger than you think and Matt Bevin is no exception. He is not for the people. From what I can see he is all about the rich and filling his own pockets with money*. Just look at what he recently did.

Yesterday Matt Bevin held a hearing about wages and the first thing on the table was Right To Work. Here’s the catch. Normally these hearings are open to the public like voters, and workers a like, but they weren’t able to enter because billionaire David Koch, founder of the Americans for Prosperity booked the room for a breakfast before the hearing and they never left, not allowing the crowd of booing workers inside the hearing. Sneaky sneaky, uh?

Look. I’m not a political expert. And I probably only know about these things because I’m a union electrician apprentice. But just like anyone in the know on a subject, I feel you have a responsibility to help people understand what’s going on. The world around us can be crazy and get over on you, if you let it. Even the man Martin Luther King Jr. had words to say about right to work, and I want to leave those with you:

In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone… Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Take notice that neither Bevin nor his own party put forth any funding into his campaign.

Lamar Kendrick is the multi-talented emcee Kogan Dumb, a union worker, filmmaker, and member of the formidable Bird Zoo. Follow his work here and listen to his music here and here.

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