My parents are republicans. I don’t argue with them about politics anymore because they’re in their 80’s and I love them, and, frankly, there’s just nothing good that will come of it.

But when I was home recently, ironically enough for a memorial for a union man known to the family, my Mom started to talk about Scott Walker, right to work, etc, and how she thought it was only fair that workers not be forced to join a union. Keep in mind that my folks, God love them, are not particularly sophisticated when it comes to such things. They’re working class people who really ought to be voting democratic but somehow think voting republican is, well, just more American.

So I let my Mom make her case while my Dad sort of nodded in agreement quietly, and when she was done with all of the reasons she’d heard on Fox News about why right to work was about worker freedom, job creation, and so on and so forth, I quietly made my case.

I said, ” look, Mom, all this bill will do is prohibit employers from automatically deducting dues from workers paychecks, which is what an employer agrees to in contract negotiations after an election in which the workers have voted to join the union. It means that workers who benefit from the better wages, benefits, and working conditions that come with union representation don’t have to pay their dues. ”

My Mom stared at me for a minute as if she didn’t believe me, and then started once again talking about forcing people to join a union, so I mildly interrupted her and said, ” Mom, no one is forced to join a union, whatever that means. There’s an election held and if 51% of the workers who vote want to join the union then the employer agrees to deduct dues automatically from their paychecks. This bill will just allow workers to opt out of paying their dues even though they get all the benefits the union provides. ”

She looked at me in amazement. ” Why would the government get involved in that? ” she asked. ” I don’t know ” I replied. ” Good question ”

She stared just a bit longer and finally said, ” Well, that’s not fair. ” ” No, it’s not ” said my Dad.

If this right to work bill passes the Assembly, and there’s almost no doubt it will, I hope Labor runs a long term public education campaign in Wisconsin about fairness. Not how Governor Walker wants to destroy unions, or the Democratic Party, or how ALEC wrote the bill, or how this bill will lower wages for everyone, all things a lot of average people simply don’t understand.

But average Americans, like my parents, still understand what’s fair and what isn’t.

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12 Responses to That’s Not Fair

  1. John Casper says:

    Great post!

    Thanks.

  2. Rondoman says:

    Sorry, but it’s dumbasses like your parents that put Walker into office.

    • Wrong, Rondoman. My parents live in Minnesota, just across the Mississippi River. It’s actually dumbasses like you who can’t bring themselves to talk decently to people like my parents who put Scott Walker in office.

    • John Casper says:

      Rondo, sorry, but over a long period of time, labor’s failed in the “messaging” game. The real “villians” are Wall Street and the oligarchs. They’ve bought up all the media corporations and been able to paint unions as the problem. In March 2009, JRN stock (that’s the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WTMJ radio and TV, plus a lot of other media) was trading at $0.49/share. AFL/CIO could have bought JRN for a song. Now it’s a lot more expensive, almost $12/bucks a share. Worse, I’m not sure the oligarchs would allow it.

      Would urge you to apologize to Steve and his family.

  3. nonquixote says:

    Great piece Steve,

    Rings true to me, in a sparsely populated rural area where one or two politely exchanged facts can get a long held belief, honestly reconsidered, the only real divisions around here are those created with 24/7 lies put forth by the kings of divide and conquer.

    Rondo(?) has obviously defaulted from anyone needing to use the last half of the alias presented without an immediate, clear and concise apology.

  4. John Harper says:

    What democrats don’t understand is 51% of Wisconsin voters voted and as our current president so graciously stated “elections have consequences, and I won”

    • nonquixote says:

      Rondo, we were waiting for your apology, not off topic stupidity on top of a gratuitous insult.

    • John Casper says:

      John H, you’re obviously not very good with numbers. Turnout was 54%.

      “Highest turnout for mid-term in Wisconsin in at least 64 years”

      http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/281611191.html

      If Gov. Walker would have campaigned on right-to-freeload, he would have lost.

      “Private sector unions are my partner in economic development,” Walker told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
      http://www.video.ideastream.org/news/npr/389028488

      Capitalism runs on sales:

      “Without spending–there are no sales;

      Without sales–there are no profits;

      Without profits–there is no demand for workers;

      Without demand for workers–there is no job creation;

      and without job creation–there is no recovery!”

      @ptcherneva

      Gov. Walker and your bosses at the Bradley Foundation put the GOP on the wrong side of President Reagan in this really good 98-second video:

      Ronald Reagan: Collective Bargaining = Freedom (VIDEO)

      http://bloggingblue.com/2015/03/ronald-reagan-collective-bargaining-freedom-video/

      How much are they paying you? Is it by the comment, by the word,….

      • John Harper says:

        Walker campaigned on act 10 during the recall election and his latest reelection and he kicked the Democrat candidates butt. in 2012 he specifically said right to work legislation would not get to his desk and it did not. in the 2014 election he simply said right to work was not his focus it was a distraction but he never stated he would not sign it if it came to his desk.

        clearly in other posts most of the Democratic commentators on this site admit or outright state that they knew Scott Walker was in favor of right to work therefore voters knew he was in favor of it. VOTERS Knew the Republican legislature was in favor of right to work as many of them outright ran on that platform. given that knowledge Republicans overwhelmingly won the elections in 2014 Scott Walker won by the same margin that he had in previous elections I think it is an outright lie to state he would not have won the election had he explicitly said he was signing right to work which he basically did anyway.

        but that being said, I don’t care what you think might have happened because what did happen was the Republicans won and as Obama stated elections have consequences

    • John Harper,

      You’re actually making my point. When workers vote by at least 51% to join a union and the employer agrees via contract negotiations to automatically deduct union dues, what business is it of the legislature to get in the middle of this? If Labor and its allies run the right education campaign going forward I think there will be consequences for the GOP down the road. Like I wrote, average people understand fairness.

  5. lufthase says:

    Stop the presses! This blew my mind:
    http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/pressrelease.asp?pressid=8454&party=2&memid=12262

    A Minnesota Republican Legislator bashing RTW and encouraging WI companies who oppose RTW to relocate to MN:

    “It’s heavy-handed and the wrong for Wisconsin to inject government into these private contractual relationships that has worked well for private companies for decades.”

    And cue the righteous outrage from Rep. Knudson, oblivious to the fact that a good chunk of the “job creation” under Walker has been merely getting companies to move a couple miles north from Illinois:
    http://www.thewheelerreport.com/wheeler_docs/files/0303knudson_01.pdf

    If this legislator is representative of how not-crazy Minnesota Republicans are, I’ve got an idea…
    Walker wants to sell off state property, shrink WI state govt, etc. Why not just sell Wisconsin (all of it) to Minnesota? Everybody wins!

  6. Duane12 says:

    Ah, Steve, how familiar. Yes, there is deep division in my family also which I cannot explain. Perhaps it is due in part to what I call a “definition of terms.” The RTW term as you explain is a good example; following is a recent reply elsewhere as I tried to explain what “Right To Work” meant to different folks:

    “Let’s be honest; the term, The Right to Work,” is at best a half truth.
    It would be more honest or clearly explained if the legislation had been properly titled as:

    Right to Free-load
    Right to Hinder Unions
    Right to Satisfy Union Haters
    Right to Divide and Conquer
    Right to Help a Presidential Candidate
    Right to Reward GOP Donors
    Right to Increase Income Disparity
    Right to Tell a Half Truth

    As an adage reveals, ‘A half truth is the worst kind of lie.'”

    Indeed, your mother and father are wise and correct in concluding “Well, that’s not fair.”

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