Repealing all Right to work Laws — Laurens R. Hunt

Repealing all Right to work Laws

Repealing all Right to work Laws goes to the heart of much of what I have been discussing about the need for a higher minimum wage.  Right to Work Laws is about the right to fire and the right to work for lower wages. Right to work provisions cost jobs because they lead to the outsourcing of jobs. When companies can run roughshod over its workers the decreased wages lead to diminished purchasing power causing a loss of jobs because of lower demand for goods and services. Right to work leads to sector and industry instability resulting in divestments. This propels mistrust stifling investment because of the ravaged consumer confidence and hence lesser consumer spending hampering job growth. This lack of confidence and investment lead to further difficulties in capital budgeting and financing also driving up borrowing costs and interest rates. Having civil service job protection, collective bargaining, organized labor, and union representation builds trust and in turn grows communities.


Small and large businesses alike function better in the presence of unions because there is heightened accountability and transparency making business planning more straight forward and predictable. Right to work laws have shut down many factories and manufacturing plants that have been in existence as far back as the Great Depression of the 1930’s and WWII. This destroys entire communities and countless livelihoods also causing higher property taxes because of less ratable. Higher property taxes are the single biggest expenses in many households hampering consumer spending power. We need a higher minimum wage that is also indexed for inflation, which allows purchasing power to grow with the expansion of the economy. More vocational training and education will help our manufacturing sector for skilled and unskilled labor alike. Our job market will only improve when union labor is strong. There needs to be a moratorium of these job killing measures. The more solvent the consumer is the more solvent are our job growth and economic activity.


This goes to my work arrangement about having civil service protection.  Those of us as government workers know that union contracts are hardly lucrative at all.  Therefore our purchasing power is barely sustaining rather than growing because we are now lucky if we can get pay raisers that cover the cost of inflation.  Previous contracts used to outpace the cost of living where the pay increase was higher than inflation.  When union membership was higher there was more money flowing through the economy because much more of the workforce knew what to expect.  The contentions about Right to Work defy all this.


Increasingly in the public and government sector workers can be fired without prior warning.  This precludes decision making and planning.  Any individual spending that does occur happens in a reactionary fashion, and does almost nothing to help grow the economy.  Those who continue to work in this sector as I do are working to educate the voting public that union labor is not a drag on the local economy and a burden to taxpayers.  I see a lot of this evidenced by the chronic homelessness in this county.


If more of these very same residents were put to work, crime would be down along with drug use, and there would be more marketable skills, making the labor force more competitive.  Many of the computer and job training centers have shut down due to virtually zero enrollments.  Another cost comes from unused space and capital.  More work must be done to convince the surrounding community that this is not a cost savings but a waste of finite resources.  All Right to Work Laws do is foment instability and distrust subverting and masking systemic community problems due to many residents being left untrained and especially in the present labor market chronically unemployed.  Wal-Mart gets a lot of bad press and protest about abuse of its workers and also flagrant discrimination, but this is also a small symptom of a much larger problem.


All of the emphasis is on satisfying the bottom line, but how do we obtain the bottom line?  For one Right to Work provisions do nothing to answer and address this.  In a related piece I have discusses why thorough job training boosts the profitability of companies through improved performance.  Job training must never be ignored for countless reasons. While improved worker morale may just sound like a state of mind it translates into a better corporate atmosphere for multiple reasons.  There is less turnover, less presenteeism (physically being at work, but in too poorer health to do any of the work), less calling in sick, fewer transactional errors and hence fewer returned goods, faster and more concise problem solving plus other areas of improvement.  The Right to Laws creates a work environment whereby the bottom line is just about shareholder wealth and gain.


While an optimal performance is priority number one the emphasis is less about efficiency and more directed at shareholder wealth, e.g. a higher stock prices and higher earnings per share.  Quality control and customer satisfaction is not discussed while all of the emphasis and capital budgeting is on cutting medical benefits, hours, overtime, and any of other form of compensation to lend the appearance of sustained profits.  As I have indicated the horror stories described about Wal-Mart apply to much of the rest of the retail industry as well.


Much of the merchandise is manufactured at nearly no cost in 3rd world factories while the mark up on the sale price is 10 times or more.  Product returns are common place.  I see this with many of the local merchant in Jersey City, NJ where I live.  In many of the cafeterias where I frequently get breakfast and lunch sometimes dinner I see this all of the time.  Turnover is constant.  Problem solving is about crisis management rather than about prior job training and emergency preparedness.  This is similarly true about the clerical support staff in many of the doctor’s offices I utilize. Many workers last for just weeks no more than months at a time.  This causes quality to suffer.


Therefore output is not being maximized.  The units of output are stained by the lack of emergency preparedness and problem solving skills.  Many items are returned that are already broken, don’t work, and in the case of perishables being thrown away.  What this is illustrating is that both quantity and quality are suffering.  All of this helps Wall Street?  If quality control and output was truly being maximized Wall Street would in fact be much more profitable.


Higher rates of output coupled with better quality increase profit margins thus boosting stock prices and earnings per share.  We are painfully learning that stagnant and falling wages, absence of medical benefits, and loss of pension payouts are placing companies in a permanent financial stranglehold.  Companies thrive and grow in turn helping Wall St. with competitively livable wages, reliable medical benefits, secure pensions, and lastly but of course not least comprehensive and thorough job training.

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