plus usually-untold history of state violence against labor
"From now on, white women and white men will be forced into organizations with black African apes whom they will have to call ‘brother’ or lose their jobs."
— Vance Muse, founder of the "right to work" anti-labor campaign
"For a lot of (once)-middle-class Americans...
"Austerity measures" are easier to fear:
"austerity" is meant to sound scary and sadomasochistic. But "right to work" sounds dreary and almost redundant, like "right to pay bills."
That’s until you start to understand the history of the "right to work" movement, the racist human hagfish who brought "right to work" into our lexicon and made it happen, and the far-right fascist oligarchs who made it worth their while. Once you meet a few of these cretins — specifically, Vance Muse, the Karl Rove-meets-David Duke brains behind the whole "Right-to-Work" movement whom I’ll introduce you to a little later in this piece — you’ll understand why those thousands who converged on Lansing were acting like their state legislators just invited Count Dracula into everyone’s homes.
In terms of understanding what just happened, it would help if we were back in the 1940s and 50s, when most liberals and establishment media used — and understood — the antonym, "union security" — a descriptive phrase for the New Deal labor laws which finally gave union organizers a fighting chance, and saw the percentage of unionized workers in the US soar from single digits in the early 1930s to around 35% of the workforce by the mid-late 1940s.
The "right-to-work" movement to destroy labor unions began almost as soon as FDR passed the Wagner Act in the mid-1930s, which gave labor organizers "union security" as the old euphemism went and should still go. Again, you have to understand the historical context:
Until the Wagner Act passed, when it came to workers’ rights, America in the 1930s was about half a century or more behind the rest of the West — child labor wasn’t even outlawed here until 1938.
But nothing compared to the endless massacres and murders of American labor organizers, massacres that are all but censored from the official history of this country. Maybe you’ve heard something about the Ludlow Massacre of the families of mine workers at Rockefeller’s mines in Colorado in 1913 — but you probably don’t know many of the details, like how Rockefeller’s private armed goons patrolled the miners’ miserable tent cities in an armored car with a mounted machine gun, spraying the tents and terrorizing the strikers, who demanded such radical concessions as "enforcement of Colorado’s laws," the eight hour work week, and pay for time spent working. Or how the terrorized women and children in the embattled tent city dug a giant makeshift bunker pit beneath one of the larger tents to hide out from the bullets — only to have Colorado National Guardsmen douse the tents with kerosene and light them on fire while the miners’ families were sleeping, then shoot some of those who ran out, killing over a dozen children, scores of workers and their wives, and ending with the arrests of hundreds of miners."