(From Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City)
Right to Work had a different twist this week as the sponsor of HB 582 suggested that unions have deliberately excluded minorities and "Right to Work" would improve opportunities for minority construction workers in the state. While I agree that opportunities for women and minorities needs improvement both within the unions and private sector, "right to work" is not the answer. I am hopeful that some good will come out of this debate that will bring all of the stakeholders to the table to find solutions that will result in more inclusion for minorities and women.
It is my opinion that weakening unions through "right to work" has little to do with the belief that it will create more jobs but more to do with unions traditionally supporting democratic candidates.
What is a "right to work" law? Despite its misleading name, this type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing.
A "right to work" law is a state law that stops employers and employees from negotiating an agreement - also known as a union security clause - that requires all workers who receive the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement to pay their share of the costs of representing them. Right to Work laws say that unions must represent every eligible employee, whether he or she pays dues or not. In other words, "Right to Work" laws allow workers to pay nothing and still get all the benefits of union membership.
Let me assure you that I will oppose "Right to Work" and any other anti-worker legislation in any form in which they come before the General Assembly. I'm proud of my 100% pro-labor voting record over my past four (4) years in the Legislature because it represents important basic principles that I hold dear about defending the middle class and protecting our Constitutional right to collective bargaining.