My Turn, Corey Hill: Fight For The Rights Of The Workers They Deserve – Salisbury Post
By Corey Hill
Senator Carl Ford and MP Virginia Foxx recently published a column in the Post entitled “Union Coercion Threatens Hard-Working North Carolinians.” Over the years we have had many discussions about workers’ rights with Sen. Ford and Rep. Foxx as my representatives. Once again, I disagree with your view on protecting the right to freedom of association.
The truth is, many workers do not feel that the company they work for cares about their wellbeing. You feel more like a number than a person. You see wages, pensions, and good health care disappearing for the manufacturers of the product. While union membership has declined and policy makers have failed to pass worker-friendly labor laws, inequality has skyrocketed. This is why six in ten workers say they would join a union today if they had a fair chance.
Between 1948 and 1973, when the unions were strongest, hourly wages rose by more than 90%. But over the next 40 years, hourly wages rose just over 9% and productivity rose 74%. Workers are not paid fairly for their production. Unions are trying to change that. The âmass exodus of workers from unionsâ cannot be separated from the amendments to the National Labor Relations Act, which make it more difficult for workers to form unions, which the law to protect the right to organize is remedied.
The law does not force anyone to join a union. It just requires paying fair share fees to cover the cost of negotiating and enforcing union contracts that benefit everyone. Workers could choose to pay the fee only without being active members. Is that so wrong? Imagine going out to eat with friends, but only half the group pays for the food. Soon you won’t be going out together anymore. We wouldn’t accept people not paying their share of the food; Why is it different with union benefits?
Workers do not have to work in a unionized facility, but they choose to work anyway – probably because of the benefits of the union contract that others have fought and co-funded for. Unions are fighting for higher wages, better benefits and job protection that raises the bar for all workers, especially those covered by the contract. Without a union contract, employers are much less likely to make these things available to their employees. The rewards for a contract are priceless compared to the cost.
So why do our elected officials want to enshrine the âright to workâ in our state constitution when it leads to lower wages, fewer social benefits and more dangerous jobs? What about Senator Ford and Rep. Foxx voters who want unions? You talk about standing up for workers, but you refuse to protect our right to organize from retaliation by employers. Where NC is only 3% unionized, what are they so afraid of? Perhaps they are speaking on behalf of their political contributors? We like the social makeup around the right to work
If they really want to help, they could do better than protecting a law that weakens working-class unions rather than protecting the workers themselves. If the working class is your true heart, then they should legislate to increase the minimum wage and improve our unemployment system by reversing the cruel cuts they made 10 years ago. You should work with guaranteed paid rest and paid sick leave, parental leave, and sick leave for all employees.
Sen. Ford and Rep. Foxx are right about one thing: it is time our elected officials began delivering for the working population. We can’t wait forever for them to start working on better labor laws for all NC workers, which they haven’t done in the past. We now need the law to protect the right to organize!
Protection of the right to organize is necessary to solve the problems that make trade unions necessary in the first place. Rather than enshrining anti-union laws in our constitution, we must ensure our right to good, safe jobs with fair wages and the freedom to form and join unions to achieve this.
Corey Hill is president of UAW Local 3520, the union that represents workers at the Daimler Trucks plant in Cleveland.