(CNSNews.com) – “Right to work is wrong for workers and wrong for America,” Hillary Clinton said last week during a speech to the AFL-CIO Convention in Philadelphia, where she called for “a strong and vibrant labor movement that is supported in the White House and across the country.”
“You see, I think it’s pretty clear. Unions helped build the greatest middle class in the history of the world, here in Pennsylvania and across the United States. When unions are strong, wages go up for both union and non-union families,” Clinton said. “The middle class expands and the entire economy is more dynamic for everyone.
“Now the reverse is also true,” she continued. “When unions are weak and workers lose their voice, and their bargaining power, in comes stagnat[ion], inequality grows, and families suffer.
"So we together have to stand up to those forces trying to weaken the labor movement and tell them ‘not on our watch'. We are going to stand firm together in favor of what unions have done, [are] doing, and will do…
“Today, American unions are at the forefront of so many crucial progressive movements, including the fight to raise the minimum wage, and this is an exciting moment. The victories are starting to roll in,” Clinton added, praising Gov. Tom Wolf for his ongoing attempts to raise the $7.25 an hour minimum wage in Pennsylvania.
“Republicans governors and legislatures are waging a relentless assault on workers’ rights. Ted Cruz and other Republicans are pushing a national right to work law that would gut unions, drive down wages and benefits, and concentrate even more power in the hands of corporations and their allies.
"Right to work is wrong for workers and wrong for America,” Clinton said to applause from the union members.
“Here’s my promise to you: If I’m fortunate enough to be elected president, organized labor will always have a champion in the White House and a seat at the table,” Clinton added.
The former senator from New York pointed to her “100 percent” record on labor issues. “As a senator, I was an original co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA),” Clinton noted.
EFCA, which was introduced in 2009 by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), would have allowed union organizers to submit cards checked off by a majority of workers in a company indicating their intent to unionize instead of holding a government-supervised secret ballot.
However, the National Right to Work Committee warned that contrary to its name, the “card check” bill would subject workers who did not choose to join a union to harassment and intimidation.
A study released last September by the Heritage Foundation found that when the cost of living is taken into account, the real wages of private sector workers in the nation’s 25 states with right to work (RTW) laws were equivalent to those in the 25 non-RTW states with compulsory unionization, such as Pennsylvania.
“Policymakers have no economic justification for forcing workers to pay union dues,” wrote James Sherk, a Heritage research fellow in labor economics. “Workers who want to unionize have the right to do so. But the government should not force workers who see little benefit from union representation to purchase it.”