One need look no further than the opinion of the Providence Journal to see just how extreme the anti-labor laws misidentified as right-to-work rules truly are. Even the right-skewing ProJo editorial page calls them “right to be paid less” laws.
“There’s a strong argument to be made that since all in a union shop benefit from the wages and benefits won by the union, which are usually higher than in a nonunion shop, all should pay dues,” says today’s lead editorial. “No free loaders.”
GoLocalProv “mindsetter” Mike Riley disagrees. He thinks Rhode Island should adopt this union-busting legislation. Of course, Mike Riley also made the worst investment in Rhode Island since 38 Studios – in himself! (Super interesting, by the way, that the state’s lawyer fighting for pension reform, John Tarantino, gave Riley money – great get, Ted Nesi!)
But back to those bleed-labor-to-death laws known as “right-to-work,” earlier this week I reported this: “Best I can tell, the term has been around since the late 1960′s.” Well, it turns out National Public Radio was able to tell a whole lot better than me.
It turns out, they reported this morning, that not only has the term been around since around 1902, but it was probably first coined by a progressive! What?
“Way back at the beginning of progressive reform movements sweeping the country … Ray Stannard Baker, and he was a progressive but he thought of union movement as kind of corrupt and so he was one of individuals who coined it.”
Interestingly enough, Baker was from Lansing, Michigan and covered the Pullman Strike for the Chicago News-Record.
Of course, NPR pointed out that it was in fact the Taft Hartley Act of the 1947 that made it possible, but it seems it was a progressive who coined the term.
A double whammy to us liberals! Not only is it hard to argue against a “right to work” but we came up with it!! No wonder it works so well!!
The saving grace is that Lichtenstein agrees that the phrase is somewhere between meaningless to misleading. He said,”It actually has no meaning in the law, it became codified and used by the right and the analogy would be right to life.”
This is very similar to what the New York Times told me earlier this week.
When a reporter asked him what liberals might call the converse, he said, simply: “Collective bargaining over industrial wages.”
And then suggested maybe it was time for the left to come up with its own phrase (rather than just inventing one for the right, I suppose).
Indeed, we have – the right to work for less … and even the conservative Providence Journal editorial page has picked up on it!