right-to-work

Indiana “Right-To-Work” (for less) Ruled Unconstitutional

Indiana “Right-To-Work” (for less) Ruled Unconstitutional

by Bob Sloan

600_right_to_work_statesLast year Indiana became the 23rd state to pass “Right to Work” legislation – a top initiative adopted and circulated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  For several years ALEC (with a corporate membership of more than 300 national and multinational companies) has pushed legislation – that can best be described as anti-union – in most states.  In each state where ALEC’s legislative members are part of a GOP majority, these laws have been systematically proposed and passed, nearly word for word as they were written by ALEC’s corporate lobbyists.

Sweeping changes in party control of many statehouses after the 2008 and 2010 election cycles resulted in several new “red” states falling under the control of conservative led GOP lawmakers and Governors.  With GOP majorities in control of states such as Wisconsin, Arizona and Ohio (each with sitting Governors who are ALEC alum), ALEC’s “model legislation” began being shoved through statehouses with little or no notice to – or regard for – voter’s position on such proposed bills.

In this atmosphere, Indiana’s ALEC led legislature/assembly began adopting ALEC written legislation culminating in a contentious fight last year over a proposed Right to Work bill. Organized labor, activists and non-union workers turned out for weeks to protest passage of this anti-union legislation.  In the face of a majority of strong opposition lawmakers managed to pass the bill and Governor Mitch Daniels quickly signed it into law.

In what can only be termed a set-back to Indiana’s GOP controlled Legislature – and ALEC, a Superior Court judge in Lake County, Indiana has ruled the new Right to Work law unconstitutional, as reported by WISH TV, in Indianapolis today:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Lake County judge has determined Indiana’s right-to-work law violates a provision in the state constitution barring the delivery of services “without just compensation.”

“Lake Superior Court Judge John Sedia found that the law wrongly requires unions to represent workers who do not pay dues. Indiana became the 23rd state in the nation to ban the collection of mandatory fees for representation from unions.

“Since then, union lawyers have gone to the courts to try and overturn the law. Sedia issued an order last Thursday declaring the ban on collections and associated criminal penalties unconstitutional.

“A spokesman for Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the state will appeal the ruling directly to Indiana’s Supreme Court.

“Union spokesman Ed Maher calls the ruling a victory for the middle class and dues-paying members.”

Though there was no mention of the involvement of ALEC or their 40 or so Indiana legislative members in pushing this legislation through in the public announcement, those tracking RTW legislation nationally know where the legislation originated and who is behind it.

Having researched and tracked ALEC’s activities over the years, it is expected that once the appeal is filed to the IN. Supreme Court an amicus curiae brief will be filed by ALEC and several satellite organizations such as Heritage Foundation, National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and the Chamber of Commerce.  This is the standard Modus operandi for the conservative cabal and reported on by VLTP in an independent Report in 2011. Those opposed to these RTW laws should even now be preparing to throw their collective hats into the ring here in Indiana by following ALEC’s lead and preparing amici filings for the upcoming Indiana Supreme Court battle that is forthcoming.

Documents Released on RTW Protest in Michigan

images[1]Questions where asked when Michigan State Police unleashed two platoons of troopers last December to take drastic measures, including arresting and spraying protesters and locking down the Capitol building for 4 1/2 hours during the contentious Right-to-Work debate.

Some of them have been partially answered this week, but the explanation is a weak one at best. As reported by the Lansing State Journal, documents filed in Ingham County Circuit Court reveal that State Police Captain Kevin McGaffigan ordered the lockdown based on communications with authorities in Wisconsin about their experience with protests at the Madison Capitol building. Claiming the measures where for the “safety” of the protesters and the the Capitol building itself. McGaffigan said the following:

 “Over the last year, the MSP has been in contact with authorities in the state of Wisconsin and discussed the protests that occurred at its Capitol building resulting in millions of dollars of property damage,”

Attorney General Bill Schuette admits that the Michigan State Police did not consult with his office or with lawmakers when reaching their unilateral decision to shut-out democracy. Schuette went on to say that the action was not a violation of the Open Meetings Act, an opinion that was supported by Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette the day after the protests.

Say what they will, it still sounds like the actions of a fascist government to this writer.

Amy Kerr Hardin from Democracy Tree

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ALEC Right to Work (for Less) Battle in Missouri Heats Up

More disturbing news from the midwest.  Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri?

First of all – let’s start with a recap of information from a report that was issued a few months ago – about the effect of implementing ALEC policies in your state. (my emphasis)

ALEC/Laffer claim that wage suppression policies (anti-union “right-to- work” laws and the lack of a state minimum wage law) lead to greater job creation and prosperity; in actuality, such laws reduce wages and benefits but have little to no effect on job growth (see Chapter 6).

These policies entail cutting or eliminating progressive taxes, suppressing wages, and cutting public services. The evidence and arguments cited to support the beneficial effects of these policies range from deeply flawed to nonexistent. In actuality, the book provides a recipe for economic inequality and declining incomes for most citizens and for depriving state and local governments of the revenue needed to maintain public infrastructure and education systems that are the underpinnings of long-term economic growth. ALEC’s policy prescriptions don’t work.
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What I learned from the ALEC 2012 Spring Task Force Summit

editor’s note:  This is a fascinating article, a first person account by a conservative ALEC member from New Hampshire.  As a conservative, he was involved in the meetings, as opposed to the way ALEC has treated Marc Pocan–keep him away from everything.

This is a very significant article for the information and insights into conservative thought and the worldview that it shows.  There are also some previously unseen ALEC Model Legislation found in the links of Mancuse’s article, which will be published separately of this narrative. I thought of excerpting this “diary”, but found it too interesting to cut.

Having grown up in New England and having a number of good friends living in New Hampshire,  I need to yell: 
                                LOOK OUT NEW HAMPSHIRE!!!
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What I learned from the ALEC 2012 Spring Task Force Summit: My trip to the ALEC Conference in Charlotte, N.C., Part II

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—As a freshman attendant at the American Legislative Exchange Council Spring 2012 summit, I was assigned to the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force, which More →

Michigan “Right-To-Work” Law Passes – Video

Michigan’s right-to-work law passes, thanks to right-wing organizations like Americans for Prosperity and ALEC.  Reporter, Andy Kroll, joins Ed Schultz to help expose the dark money and shadow government, and strength of the right wing in state government.

Please click here to watch this video.  Finally, some TV exposure of ALEC and the Koch Brothers again.  MSNBC–please keep up reporting on this danger to America’s middle class and poor.  There is so much more that needs to be shown to people in America and around the world.

Detroit Free Press Snyder Endorsement Actually Predicted How He Would Screw Michigan

That ill-advised Snyder endorsement contained a hidden gem….one the Detroit Free Press hopes readers won’t revisit.

It’s not often that a major metropolitan newspaper editorial board makes the news over an opinion piece, but that’s just what happened this past week as the Detroit Free Press backed-out of Governor Snyder’s camp like it was suddenly a circulation-killing leper colony. Their “opinion” diatribe displayed a full-blown case of the second stage of grief: Anger — after having lingered on the first stage: Denial, for nearly two years post their endorsement of the governor. Snyder’s about-face on Right-to-work spelled the end of their steamy relationship. The Free Press went well beyond dumping, they completely sanitized themselves of their affection for his dirty politics.

The editors would be well served to examine how much journalistic research was invested in identifying their candidate of choice. On the surface, without even comparing and contrasting Snyder to Virg Bernero, his Democratic foe, you’d think a responsible editorial board would at least question the wisdom of putting a known corporate raider in charge of a state that earned a solid “F” on its Corruption Risk Report Card from the State Integrity Investigation Project. Wide-open for potential corruption, Michigan ranks 44th, with all three branches of government receiving individual flunking grades. More →

The (F)Law of the Land — Why RTW Laws are Bad for State Economies

Michigan leaders, like moths, are mindlessly being drawn to the destructive Right-to-work flame, soon making them the 24th state to enact a bad law which every qualified economist who has seriously studied the subject finds to be destructive to a state’s economy and workforce, while being little more than a short-term political lever at best. The state will join the ranks of: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia,and Wyoming.

Newspapers across Michigan are rethinking their endorsement of the governor, and Virg Bernero is suddenly looking a lot more like “the one that got away” to the media as he is now the darling of recent interviews. Even the Free Press is crying foul about Snyder’s abrupt 180 — apparently they’re feeling duped, as they should. Two years ago my local paper similarly made a bad call by endorsing the sonorous corporate raider with the headline: Little to lose by voting for Rick Snyder for governor.”  The editor had a few choice words this past week about the Snyder bait and switch routine on Right-to-work.

The fall-out of Snyder’s double-agency will be seen and heard this Tuesday on the capitol steps in Lansing with massive peaceful protests . This time, hopefully without being pepper sprayed.

Snyder had better re-read his Sun Tzu, for he’s in for quite a political battle, and if he thinks More →