Monday, March 23, 2015

Right to Work: A misnomer!

Most states in the United States are a "right to work state." The law provides, " the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union..." ( The law was meant to help workers from being forced to join a union, but the law has now expanded to mean much more. Now, it appears the law extends more rights to the employer and less to the employee. Some employers give less salary, less benefits, and then demand more hours. Employers have taken the law one step further and fired individuals without reason for termination. That means the employee has no voice whether he or she remains employed. An employee can do everything right, have outstanding reviews, have impecable credentials, yet if the employer does not like the employee, then the person can be fired on the spot without an explanation.

However, this is not declared within the law. And, this misconception needs to change. According to Donna Ballman,  AOL Jobs Legal Affairs Blogger and Employment Attorney:
        A common misperception is that, like my reader's question says, they mean an employer
        can fire employees for any reason or no reason at all. Right-to-work laws have
        absolutely nothing to do with this. What you're talking about here is at-will

        Every state but Montana is already an at-will employment state. At-will means your
        employer can fire you for any reason or no reason at all. Whether your employer doesn't
        like your shirt, wakes up in a bad mood, or just feels like it, they can fire you at-will
        unless you have a contract or union agreement saying otherwise.
       A union can bargain to change this. Many union agreements have requirements that 
       employers only terminate for just cause.

She also determines that, "right-to-work states tend to have lower average wages, spend less on education, have higher worker fatality rates and have lower standards of living. President Obama says this about right-to-work supporters, "What they are really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money."

Nothing changes if workers don't ask for change. We can love our jobs, love our collegues, and love our company. That may be wonderful, but Pollyanna attitudes did not and will not provide better jobs, better wages, better wages, and safer working conditions. If we want change, then we need to speak up.

 © Natala Orobello

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