“Right to be a jerk” states



For years, I’ve been meaning to do a cartoon on the ridiculous phrase that is “right to work.” Unfortunately, Scott Walker has given me an opportunity.

“Right to work” is a classic example of linguistic framing by market fundamentalists. Every time we use it, we invoke their agenda. Personally, I’ll take the “right to work for more than peanuts through collective bargaining.” Let’s call “right to work” what it really is: an attack on the right to unionize.



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  • Quiddity

    Good cartoon. Yeah, Walker looks as if he’ll do to private sector unions what he did to public sector unions. Divide and conquer is what he said his strategy would be, and it appears to be working. I agree that “right to work” sounds good, but it really isn’t. These battles were fought 100 years ago (approximately) and it’s a shame they will be fought again in the 21st century. Only now it’s more difficult because manufacturing and other single-site workplaces – which are best for unionization – have diminished in number.

    • Benjamin Schwab

      It’s more then just a shame that the Union movement needs to be rebuilt. The American Federation of Labor has systemically destroyed unions in this country. The goal from the beginning was to co-opt and marginalize the union movement as much as possible. The AFL has been successful.

      When the AFL was first formed it only accepted skilled white men. It was because of the pressure of other unions that were unionizing all workers (regardless of job, sex, or race) and were actually providing benefits that forced the AFL’s hand to be more inclusive and to actually support workers. The arm the AFL created to co-op unskilled workers unions, the Committee of Industrial Organizations, left the AFL soon after its creation because of how ineffective the organization is.

      The battles won by organizations like the American Farm Labor Alliance have to be refought because of the ineptitude and/or sabotage by the AFL. Once the AFL was the only game in town it could destroy and forget union principles such as solidarity and mutual aid without which there is no union, just a collective bargaining unit.

      The divide and conquer approach isn’t Gov. Walker’s, it is the AFL’s. As long as Americans believe that the AFL is what a Union is, we will not have Unions and the collective bargaining units will continue to be further marginalized.

      A not insignificant number of people reading this will continue to support the AFL and their close allies, the Democratic Party, because “it is the only game in town.” It is because of you that the AFL and the Democrats have been successful of co-opting labor without providing anything but token benefit. As long as pro-labor Americans continue to support these institutions they will have no incentive to change and labor will be doomed for decades to come.

    • Gary Macguyver

      please read my two posts to this thread then let me know what you think about “right To Work” thanks..G

  • Stevie Ray Vaughn

    ‘Right to work’ is a misnomer. It seems to imply that if you don’t have these laws, you really cannot work, as if you’re barred from working. It’s a masterful piece of mastering the art of communication, something the right wing is excellent at.

    • Aylithe Hyrexia Zoldas

      The only example of an intentionally misleading name that even comes close to how ridiculous this is would probably be the P.a.c: “Citizen’s United”

      • Gary Macguyver

        Please read my two posts to this thread, then tell me if you think I need a right to work law? Thx…G

        • Aylithe Hyrexia Zoldas

          G?

        • Aylithe Hyrexia Zoldas

          Yes you do.

          They could have easily passed a law nullifying the non-competitive clause without gutting the whole idea of collective bargaining; setting our labor force back 70 years.

    • Gary Macguyver

      Please read my two posts, then tell me what you think of my right to go to work…thx…

    • Gary Macguyver

      It really isn’t a misnomer…that would be The Affordable Health Care Act

  • Gary Macguyver

    The Union movement is a political mega-fundraiser…I have worked union for close to 10 years….countless layoffs, only made 20,000 for each of the last two years!! and if you don’t pay your dues when unemployed you get kicked out, penalized, and lose your health benefits! Then there are Political Action Committee fees, and even a fee to help the crooked union bid on jobs against non-union outfits. Did you ever work for a union Jen Sorensen? I would go back if I could afford to pay all of my back dues…at $80 per month for last 8 months…plus a $250 REINSTATEMENT fee…looks like they took away my right to work!

  • Gary Macguyver

    Unions have been dropping in membership for a reason…too much unemployment! That means Unions have less money from dues…and there isn’t a single union out there that can balance the budget….
    I have gotten the government-mandated notices every year that make the union disclose how broke they really are…I have seen the benefits go down from a $2000 a year dental plan to $200…that wont clean the family’s teeth!
    SO now these broke-ass organizations need more money…so they are grabbing onto the fast food market like it is skilled labor….I had to go thru 4 years of night-school to be a qualified Journeyman of my trade…
    Are Unions going to train people to cook hamburgers? And will that take 4 years?
    My local has approximately 125 unemployed Journeymen and 20 or 30 apprentices unemployed RIGHT NOW….still paying up to $80 per month in dues, $7 PAC fee per week, a “Job Equality” fee of a few bucks to help our union bosses offset the cost of their job(supposed to make union bids competitive with non-union contractors).
    BTW…non-union companies in my field pay just as well, but my UNION made me sign a contract that I CANNOT WORK FOR A NON-UNION CONTRACTOR…so where is my right to work in this case? I CHALLENGE you , Jen to give me your best answers.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-syndicated political cartoonist whose work has appeared in The Progressive, The Nation, Daily Kos, Austin Chronicle, NPR, Ms., Politico, and many other publications. The recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, she tweets at @JenSorensen.

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