Monday Night Owls: Labor and climate activists have a common enemy: ‘right-to-work’ for less laws

Monday Night Owls: Labor and climate activists have a common enemy: ‘right-to-work’ for less laws

Night Owls is a themed open thread appearing at Daily Kos seven days a week.

Kate Aronoff at The New Republic writes—Right to Work on a Hot Planet. Labor and climate campaigners quite literally share a common enemy. The name often ends in Koch:

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act—which passed out of the House last February, and which Biden has voiced support for—would preempt the core of statewide right-to-work measures. In addition to a host of other workplace protections, the legislation would allow employers and unions to agree on a “fair share” clause, so that workers can pay the agency fees toward the cost of bargaining and administering collective bargaining agreements. It protects workers’ First Amendment rights, as well, like their ability to engage in the “secondary boycotts”—protesting nonunion shops, for instance—that Taft-Hartley outlawed. The PRO Act, of course, will face the same anti-democratic hurdles that threaten most progressive legislation in the Senate.

If passed, it may help build the power necessary to win green policies: A 2018 study by political scientists James Feigenbaum, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, and Vanessa Williamson compared counties on either side of state borders—one in a state that had enacted right-to-work laws and one that hadn’t. “After the passage of RTW laws, county-level Democratic vote shares in presidential elections fall by 3.5 percentage points relative to bordering counties without RTW laws in place,” they found. “Presidential-level turnout is also 2 to 3 percentage points lower” in right-to-work counties, and such laws “generally reduce Democratic vote share and turnout in U.S. Senate and House elections, as well as state Gubernatorial races. Democratic seat shares in state legislatures also fall after the passage of RTW laws.”

For climate activists, there is ample cause to want strong unions besides needing more Democrats to pass climate legislation. The war mobilization is a frequent reference point for Green New Deal advocates. Even the Biden administration appeals to the nostalgia of a booming manufacturing economy in describing plans to produce American-made electric vehicles, for instance. The automakers who might carry that out, though, have moved many of their operations South over the last several decades, in search of weaker labor laws and cheaper wages—or out of the country entirely.

If booming electric car production were the tip of the spear of a green recovery—and there are myriad reasons to be wary of that—much of that production could well happen in nonunion plants that are hardly delivering the sort of midcentury imaginary that talk of a wartime production evokes. The country’s most high-profile electric car manufacturer, Tesla, is run by an anti-union zealot who has already violated the National Labor Relations Act. “A lot of people lament the loss of manufacturing jobs, but the truth is you can have a good union job in any industry as long as you unionize it,” [said Lee Carter, Virginia House of Delegates member and gubernatorial candidate whose HB 1755 would repeal the state’s 75-year-old right-to-work law]. […]

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TWEET OF THE DAY

Those few days when we thought Dems were going to have a majority in the Senate and own their power and that McConnell would be minority leader were fun

— Joe Sudbay (@JoeSudbay) January 26, 2021

QUOTATION

“The new Lost Cause, like the Lost Cause of yesteryear, uses lies to camouflage the desperate and pathetic effort to preserve white supremacy as a valorous fight for a noble end. Hence the patently ridiculous contention that the election was stolen and democracy imperiled, a likely story downplaying white supremacists’ belief that any presidential win delivered by black voters is inherently counterfeit.” ~~Kali Holloway, 2021

BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2012—Compare your income and tax rate to Mitt Romney:

Slate has produced a Romney income calculator that lets us find out how many hours or days it took Mitt Romney to match our incomes in 2010, and it is good fun to plug in different numbers to get multiple perspectives on just how ridiculously rich Romney is.

For instance, in 2010 it took Mitt Romney 10 hours and 40 minutes to earn the median individual income of $26,400. It took him 16 hours and nine minutes to earn the mean income of $39,959. It took him three days, eight hours, and 53 minutes to earn the $200,000 that by some measures puts you in the top 1 percent; or five days, 19 hours, and seven minutes to earn the $344,000 that puts you in the top 1 percent by another measure.

And don’t forget, however much more money Romney makes than you, he also quite likely pays a lower tax rate. So make your next stop the DNC’s Romney tax calculator, to compare your tax rate to Romney’s and find out how different your taxes would be if you paid at the rate he does. (Not included in the calculation is the cost of all the accountants and lawyers he pays to help him avoid paying taxes.)

So, how long does it take Mitt Romney to make your income, and how much would you save on taxes if like him you only paid 13.9 percent?

Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for “Netroots Radio.”

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