Spring 2005


From the director
‘Right-to-Work’ has it all wrong

A rumor’s going around that it ’s impossible for unions to organize workers in the South, especially in manufacturing industries.

Whoever is spreading this rumor doesn’t know much about Region 8. In the past two years, thousands of workers from truck plants and auto parts plants in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and other southern states have joined the UAW. We know we must be doing something right because our opponents are coming after us harder than ever.

One group that is just hopping mad about our organizing success is an outfit called the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Together with its sister organization, the National Right to Work Committee, this group has a $15 million budget and more than 200 lobbyists and lawyers.

What do all these people do for a living? They are dedicated to preventing you and your family from exercising your right to join a union and bargain for a better standard of living. RTW pretends to stand up for individual workers, but this is actually a phony front group for extremist, narrow-minded employers committed to destroying our labor movement. This group is totally dishonest about who they are and what their real purpose is.

What’s wrong with “Right-to-Work”?
Their name: “Right-to-work,” as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once pointed out “provides no rights and no works. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining.”

Their claim: “right-to-work” claims to stand up for the rights of individual workers, but nothing could be further from the truth. The RTW committee was founded by Edwin S. Dillard, CEO of the Old Dominion Box Co., after a group of workers tried to unionize at his company. The express purpose of RTW is to fight unions.

Their P.R. Game: Journalist Helen Chenoweth, who conducted a detailed study of the RT W committee, describes the group’s structure as follows: “Put simply, the committee was formed by businessmen, who, to camouflage their purpose, added a few worker members because they felt it was important (as it states in meeting minutes) ‘from a public relations standpoint.’”

Their funding sources: Where does RTW get its money? Nobody knows. They refuse to disclose their funding sources.

Their failures: RTW has never said a word about workers who get fired during organizing drives. Or about safety on the job. Or about preventing racial or sexual harassment in the workplace. They don’t care about your real rights. They only care about your right not to join a union. The exercise of this “right” helps employers more than it helps anyone else, no surprise from a group that was founded by employers.

The RTW groups are doing their best to tangle us up in court and prevent workers from exercising their right to organize and bargain.

In the long run, they will not succeed, because workers in the South – like everywhere else – want a voice on the job and a chance to improve wages and working conditions.
As long as we’ve got RTW hopping mad at us, we know we’re on the right track.

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