In the wake of Bernie Sanders’ recent “Medicare For All” proposal, which was co-signed by just about every single 2020 presidential hopeful with a (D) in front of their name, Elizabeth Warren, wwas all “hold my beer” and dropped this sexy little number today (which was also co-signed by a bunch of her fellow Congresscritters): a federal “right to work” repeal. The District Sentinel has the details:
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would make it tougher for states to bust unions.
The trio are seeking to outlaw what Republicans have branded as “right-to-work” laws. The rules allow individual workers to free-ride on collective bargaining agreements–by giving them the option of withholding fees from unions who represent them at the negotiating table.
Twenty-eight states currently have rules allowing free-riding on collective bargaining—six of them enacted the laws in the past five years. Only four “right to work” states ranked among the top 20, in terms of 2016 median household income. […]
“If we want to protect workers and expect a level playing field in international trade deals, we need to start at home,” Warren said on Wednesday, “and that means banning states from imposing restrictions that prevent workers from joining together to fight for their future.
Outside of Zombiecare, the Republican Party’s all-out assault on unions is quite possibly the most existential threat not only to workers but to the Democratic Party itself, who rely extensively on unions for funding. While they’re not allowed to rely on union dues for political campaigns, disrupting that revenue stream cuts unions off at the knees in terms of functioning at all. From there, the rest is history.
Obviously, the chances of Warren’s “right to work” repeal gaining any traction in our current legislature are slim to none, and slim just left town. But like with Sanders’ “Medicare For All” proposal, that’s beside the point.
One of the biggest failings of the Democratic Party for years has been their seeming inability to stand for anything other than preservation of a status quo that has continuously failed the American public. It’s one of the main reasons the Sanders campaign was able to lead such an insurgency within the party: he articulated a vision for American beyond simply building bulwarks against Republican crypto-fascist insanity, a vision of a country where the majority of Americans are no longer required to grovel for scraps in the back alleys of the aristocracy, where their lives can mean something again.
Never mind that Sanders was long on promises and short on details during the campaign; that’s what campaigns are for. (See the candy-assed orange monstrosity the nation actually elected for more information.) The point is that he gave the electorate something to believe in, and echoed their sentiment that simply voting for the “lesser of two evils” (not that we believe that Hillary was the “lesser of two evils”) and running for the nearest toilet is no way to run a country.
It would appear that the party, after extensive infighting and a few wild electoral goose chases, has begun to officially get their house in order re: a more aggressively progressive policy platform. “Medicare For All” and the “right to work” repeal may be DOA for the time being, but they signal to 2018 and 2020 Democratic Party contenders that the party isn’t going to settle for less moving forward out of their candidates.
Dare I say that the light is darkest before the dawn? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that this is the most progressive Democratic policy agenda shift I’ve seen in my entire life, and it’s arrived not a moment too soon.
The Supreme Court is poised to deal a sharp blow to the unions that represent millions of teachers and other public employees, announcing Thursday it will consider striking down the mandatory fees that support collective bargaining. […]
The decision, due by next June, could prove a costly setback for public-sector unions in 22 states, including California, where such fees are authorized by law. Labor experts have predicted a significant percentage of employees would stop supporting their union if given a choice. The other 28 states have “right to work” laws that forbid requiring workers to join or support a union.
Early last year, the court’s conservatives were poised to strike down these so-called “fair share” fees in a suit brought by a California schoolteacher. But Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly in February, leaving the court split 4-4 and unable to decide the case of Friedrichs vs. the California Teachers Assn.
Now, the court has agreed to hear a new case presenting the same issue. And this time, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch can — and most likely will — supply the fifth vote for a conservative ruling.
Originally posted on Pink Elephants.