The CWA News | Workers’ Rights Under Attack in the States

Volume 71, Issue #4 | Winter 2011

Workers’ Rights Under Attack in the States

CWA members in Ohio, New Jersey, Wisconsin, New Mexico and other states are seeing a concentrated attack on the rights of working people to have a voice on the job and in the political process.

Credit: Getty ImageCWA members in Ohio, New Jersey, Wisconsin, New Mexico and other states are seeing a concentrated attack on the rights of working people to have a voice on the job and in the political process.

Here’s what is happening in the states:

In Ohio, a Republican governor and Republican majority state legislature pushed through a measure that stripped public workers of their bargaining rights. Only hard work by thousands of CWA and progressive activists in getting the initiative on the November election ballot made a citizens’ veto of this anti-worker measure possible.

In New Jersey, CWA members have been fighting back against a Republican governor and some Democratic leaders in the Senate and Assembly who agreed to strip away workers’ rights to bargain over health care and pensions.

In Wisconsin, where the state doesn’t provide for a voter referendum on legislative action, public workers have been stripped of their bargaining rights. Unions and allies are working to recall the governor and other legislators who took this extremist route.

Source: Center for Responsive Politics/Opensecrets.orgNew Mexico’s governor has launched an attack on public workers, Florida legislators adopted a “paycheck deception” measure that prohibits payroll deduction for any dues and restricts workers' ability to make voluntary political contributions through payroll deduction. South Dakota and Arizona legislatures have restricted workers’ organizing rights by making majority signup illegal, Oklahoma has wiped out bargaining rights for public workers in municipalities and counties. And the list goes on.

These attacks are the direct result of a broken political system that allows secret money to call the shots.

A key player in this assault is the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which is funded by some of the nation’s biggest and richest companies. Included among ALEC members are some 2,000 state legislators and corporate executives who work together to draft model bills on everything from voting rights to workers’ rights to environmental protections.

A new report by Common Cause, “Legislating Under the Influence: Money, Power and the American Legislative Exchange Council,” details ALEC’s agenda. “ALEC is a key player in a national drive to toughen voter ID laws, successful so far in 18 states…ALEC has a lengthy list of things it opposes, including federal and state environmental regulations, the new health care reform law, state minimum wage laws and public employee unions.”

Read more about ALEC at www.commoncause.org