The weekend edition of the Messenger carries an editorial by Rob Roper of the right-wing Ethan Allen Institute advocating for Vermont to join 24 other states in passing a so-called “Right-to-Work” law.
The timing is odd since this red-flag originally saw the light of day way back in August, when it was carried by Vermont Digger.
The name “Right-to-Work” is deceptive, as are the statistics quoted in Mr. Roper’s pitch. In states without “Right to Work” laws, no one is denied the right to work. They simply may not benefit from the wage and benefit packages negotiated through collective bargaining unless they contribute to the cost of that collective bargaining effort.
Sounds pretty fair to me.
So-Called “Right-to-Work” laws are popular in states under Republican control, where regulation is egregiously lax, minimum wage is kept truly minimal, and a lack of social services and infrastructure investment keep taxes artificially low.
These states are extremely attractive to industrial-scale development, of course, but the collateral costs to poorer communities represented in their population, and to the environment, must be borne by the federal purse or not at all.
The statistics that Mr. Roper quotes are therefore skewed by factors other than “Right-to-Work” laws.
Let’s take a closer look at the sources that are providing Mr. Roper with his talking points. He cites a study by the “Competitive Enterprise Institute.” According to Sourcewatch, the “Competitive Enterprise Institute” is heavily funded by the infamous Koch brothers and has “long ties to the disinformation campaigns” of big tobacco and climate change denial.
We can only assume that his statement that “over 85% of Vermonters” support a “Right-to-Work” agenda is based on statistics provided by that extremely questionable source. If this number wasn’t simply pulled out of the air, it was no doubt arrived at through the use of a “push-poll” which surveyed only a carefully chosen section of the population.
Anyone who has ever been the recipient of a call asking something on the order of “Would you support candidate “A” if you knew that he beat his wife?” is familiar with the nature of “push-polls.”
Given Vermont’s position as the most progressive state in the Union, it seems highly unlikely that 85% of Vermonters actually would support a law that essentially strips labor of its ability to engage in collective bargaining, particularly in this era of conspicuous corporate greed and exploitation.