January 14th, 2013

2013: Choice between workers’ freedom from abuse & bullying (the Healthy Workplace Bill) vs. Corporate agenda

As state Legislatures open for the 2013-14 biennial sessions, lawmakers have the moral choice between doing something right for workers (enacting the WBI anti-abuse Healthy Workplace Bill) or being bamboozled by the billionaire and corporate-funded anti-worker groups (e.g., ALEC, Freedom Works) pushing “right-to-work” and “paycheck protection” laws. Michigan has succumbed; Wisconsin is in the crosshairs. It is guaranteed that your state lawmakers will be bestowed with generous donations expecting a reciprocated vote for corporate interests at the expense of the few hard-earned rights for workers.

The antidote to these campaigns that wrap themselves in the word “freedom” is to remind your local lawmaker that the only election votes come from constituents like you, to not let herself or himself be bought, to hear the voices of regular folks who work for a living. Workers are already at the mercy of employers. The push to drive wages down to minimum wages, to eliminate entirely fixed pensions, to renege on promised pensions, to not provide health care insurance — all of these backward measures are an insult to millions.

Corporations that now hoard billions of dollars outside the U.S. flaunting tax laws, have complete control over the economic health of working class families. Now they want more. They want you to experience austerity.

Don’t be fooled. What’s good for corporations is no longer good for workers. It’s becoming a zero-sum game. They are the winners and gouging the losers, workers.

Forcing them to curb abusive conduct of those still on the payrolls is not asking much. To hear the Chamber of Commerce opponents to our HWB say it, the bill threatens employers’ ability to “compete.” That’s simply not true. If management must abuse, it does not know how to manage. Torturing workers, or allowing them to be tortured in secret through indifference, is cruelty. It does not serve the bottom line. Even if it did, it is inexcusable. Human well-being is also a critical “bottom line” goal, not just financial gain.

Take a stand. Make your elected officials pick a side. They are either moral or inhumane. Yes. It’s that simple. Forget nuance. There is no equivalence between the needs of abusers and those they abuse. Pick a side. The corporate side is the anti-worker side. So-called RTW laws are against workers despite their clever name.

The “freedom” that corporate-backed groups seek is freedom to abuse, to escape all regulation and oversight. If they prevail, we won’t have breathable air, drinkable water, sustainable food supplies, controls over workplace hazards, wages that can support families and feed children, access to health insurance, or pensions to allow people to stop working before they die. Is that the world you want?

Dare your lawmaker to take a stand in 2013. If they choose the wrong set of laws to support and turn their back on the HWB, rally voters to drive them from office. The gloves are off. The ultimate power you have is a vote they deperately need to stay in office. Withhold votes from those who dither and contemplate and wait when you ask them for immediate action.

Lawmakers who support workers see that the HWB is no threat to good employers. They will sponsor or co-sponsor the bill. Call them, visit them in their local district office, explain, then threaten them with ouster if they don’t support workers. The other side is giving them lots of money to get their support. You have only the high ground of a morally defensible law. Right is on your side. The HWB can bring true freedom — freedom from abuse at work. That’s what Freedom From Workplace Bullies Week is all about.

Sign on as a Citizen Lobbyist on your State page at this website. If you are ready to take on a bigger role, volunteer to be State Coordinator.

Watch this site. 2013 could be the breakthrough year. A law is coming, just a matter of when.

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