by Joye Barksdale | February 24, 2012
Mitt Romney (Photo by Gage Skidmore)
Mitt Romney, the Presidential candidate who brags about how he likes to “fire people,” wants to fire union representation and workers’ rights as well. In the run-up to Tuesday’s Republican Primary in Michigan and Arizona, he continues advocating right-to-work legislation, making it a key theme of his campaign swing through the state.
Romney’s spokespeople have repeatedly said that as President, he would sign national right-to-work legislation “if it came across his desk.”
Under right- to-work-for-less laws, unions have to represent all eligible employees, whether or not they pay union dues. These laws are intended to weaken unions by forcing them to extend union benefits to “free riders” who don’t pay their fair share. Ultimately, diluted union strength leads to lower salaries, fewer benefits, and diminished health and safety standards. In fact, many studies have shown that workers fare worse in right-to-work states than they do in states without such laws.
Romney told an audience in Shelby Township, Mich. that he is “in favor of right-to-work legislation” for the state. That puts him at odds with Gov. Rick Synder, who said that he would oppose such a law. Snyder is certainly no fan of working families. His Emergency Financial Managers Law – otherwise known as the local dictator law – allows him to install managers in financially troubled cities, townships and school districts who can break union contracts and privatize services at will.
Snyder says the debate over right to work is divisive and has little merit at a time when voters are concerned about creating jobs and making ends meet. (Finally, something AFSCME members and Snyder can agree on.) Romney, however, is not concerned with divisiveness. He’s more interested in pandering to his corporate fan base.