Wroblewski: Right to Worse is wrong for Washington

The anti-union laws proposed by one Washington state legislator and endorsed by one outspoken pundit would cripple the state’s economy and hamstring efforts to provide the kind of workforce development that’s essential for the future of the state’s aerospace industry, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 said.

mother jones awardTom Wroblewski said he’s calling the proposed anti-union law “‘Right to Worse … because that’s exactly what the result would be: Worse pay and benefits for 400,000 union workers in the short term, and a declining standard of living for all Washington residents that would get worse and worse as the years went by.”

Wroblewski’s comments are in the current edition of the AeroMechanic newsletter, which is now available online:

Wroblewski presented cold hard facts to buttress his argument:

  • Average household incomes in Right to Worse states are as much as $7,000 a year less than pay in Rights at Work states like Washington;
  • Right to Worse states spend on average $2,500 per pupil less on public schools, which leads to lower educational attainment;
  • Workplace fatality rates in Right to Worse states are 50 percent higher, largely because there aren’t strong unions to advocate for better safety laws; and
  • Infant mortality rates are 15 percent higher in Right to Worse states, and barely half of the working adults in those states have any form of employer-provided health insurance.

“It’s pretty clear having a Right to Worse law would be bad for Washington state residents, whether they’re part of a union or not,” Wroblewski said.

Wroblewski said that groups who promote Right to Worse laws pretend they are motivated by business competitiveness reasons, but in fact, the laws have nothing to do with economics and everything to do with politics.

Conservative politicians think that if they weaken unions, they’ll weaken political candidates that unions support, he said. “So to make it easier for themselves to get elected … these Conservative politicians are willing to inflict huge damage on every single person in our state who works for a living.”

Wroblewski scolded Seattle-area reporters for exaggerating the importance of  the tiny number of Right to Worse supporters — and for their failure to explore how much damage such laws would cause to the state’s economy.

The only advocates of Right to Worse in Washington are one Republican legislator and one aerospace industry commentator, he said. “Having two people talk in favor of Right to Worse … is so unusual that it has spawned a couple of stories,” Wroblewski said. “None of the reporters have really bothered to look at what a horribly bad idea Right to Worse laws are, and what the awful implications would be for our state.”

Lower wages would mean lower tax revenues to fund basic services for all Washington citizens, and in particular, it would cripple workforce development programs that companies like Boeing rely on, he said.

“Make no mistake, if Washington ever became a Right to Worse state, it absolutely would make your jobs, your paychecks and your family’s future worse,” Wroblewski wrote. “This union will fight it, and I call on you as individual members to do your part.”

AIMvote1Also in this month’s AeroMechanic, you can read:

  • A report on how more than 250 workers with AIM Aerospace in Sumner have voted to join the Machinists Union;
  • A report on how 16 District 751 volunteers have been honored by the White House for outstanding community service;
  • A feature story on the Manufacturing Academy, a program backed by District 751 that teaches potential aerospace industry apprentices that skills they’ll need to be successful on the job;
  • A report on how union officers helped a Hanford worker win a $69,000 settlement after he was improperly suspended from his job by his employer; and
  • Reports on two charity events that raised a combined $26,000 for Guide Dogs of America.

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 33,000 working men and women at 49 employers across Washington, Oregon and California.

To talk with a District 751 officer about how a union contract could help you, click here.

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