ThinkProgress filed this report from a town hall in Derry, New Hampshire.
With the aid of corporate front groups like ALEC, several states have advanced “right to work legislation” this year, in an attempt to further erode unions’ ability to collectively bargain for fair wages and benefits. Were it not for Gov. John Lynch’s (D) veto pen, New Hampshire would be the only state in the northeast with a right to work law.
During a campaign stop in New Hampshire Friday evening, Perry urged the Granite State to try again to pass right to work legislation. Ignoring the fact that the legislation is a direct assault on unions’ capacity to stand up for workers, Perry said “right to work is not an anti-union bill” but rather a “pro-jobs bill.” The Texas governor went on to claim that “our friends who have chosen to be in unions” ought to support the legislation because “they’ll have more access to more jobs”:
PERRY: Right to work is not an anti-union bill, it’s a pro-jobs bill. And our friends who have chosen to be in unions, they’ll have more access to more jobs, making this a right to work state.
Perry’s assertion that right to work bills are not “anti-union” follows in a long history of Republican legislative wordplay.
Legislation gutting environmental protections is referred to as the “Clear Skies Initiative” and “Healthy Forests Initiative.” Republicans defend their plan to end Medicare by instead claiming that it “saves Medicare.” Perry himself says he wants to “fix Social Security,” a program he believes is unconstitutional and a “monstrous lie.”
Union members, of course, know better than to buy what Perry is selling. Right to work legislation — known in union circles as “right to work for less” — would result in lower wages, fewer health and safety regulations, and make it far more difficult for unions to organize on behalf of workers. Economist Gordon Lafer has found that right to work laws “have no impact in boosting economic growth.” “Research shows that there is no relationship between right-to-work laws and state unemployment rates, state per capita income, or state job growth,” he found.
In New Hampshire, the fight goes on to protect the state from right to work legislation. Corporate interests are not shy about their desire to weaken unions with right to work legislation, nor have unions obscured the fact that such bills threaten their future. If Perry sincerely believes that right to work isn’t anti-union, he is pitching his tent in a lonely camp.