The Right to Your Labor


    Some argue: you have no claim to the product of your labor; it’s the property of your employer. After all, the employer owns the job. And without the job, labor has no value. So follows the views of Governor McDonnell and apparently Senator Warner and DPVA Chairman Moran. Slavery redux.

    All of them support the oxymoronic “Right to Work” lobby; a movement rearward to the age of fiefdoms. This is a Virginia issue for any of a number of reasons. Some:

    • Our Right to Work Laws foster a hostile environment for labor
    • Unions protect a very small portion of the labor force
    • Wages for skilled labor are lower than in states without the “Right to Work”
    • Skilled labor migrates to higher wages and out of Virginia
    • Democratic leadership kowtows to Republican interests above labor’s interests

    A Daily Kos post this past Sunday laid out an argument that the mega-have’s are mounting a final assault on the middle-have’s. It wipes away the misconception that the “business-friendly” right-to-work states receive economic benefit in employment growth and economic gains.

    But though the middle class will likely diminish as a result of this consolidation of wealth, the attack is not only against it but also against anything of value they can attach; even that of the little-haves. The Republicans have grown as ignorant about production and business as the anti-capitalists they so deride. Two sides of the same coin. They are fostering a soviet style business climate that sees wealth as a zero sum game; the only way to increase it is by taking someone else’s. Redistribution of wealth private sector style; today characterized by glossy grift.

    It’s not enough for today’s Republicans that the richest 1% of the population takes in 24% of the nation’s income. Not enough for them that 20% of the population holds 85% of the wealth. Not enough for them that:

    median weekly wages, when adjusted for inflation, fell slightly for both high school and college graduates from 2000 to 2009, according to a recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank.

    from Laura Clawson’s post in Daily Kos

    Determining the equitable distribution of profits should not be left to the benevolence of one factor of the production formula. Having deserted the primarily agrarian society of yore, the at least three legs on this stool (investment, innovation, and labor) must compete to divide the proceeds of production (profit). Ownership holds the cards in this formula. The most evident property in this scheme is usually capital investment and the product itself. It is a collective power. Innovation is a unique sort of labor with a special kind of leverage to balance the power of capital. As a collective, labor possesses the strength to negotiate an equitable distribution of the proceeds of production. Alone, in a large organization, a sole laborer can never stand toe to toe with management. Alone, the property of one’s labor will be usurped.

    “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Blanch Dubois

    Follow the history of Right to Work. It is a cultural vestige nurtured in the tradition of slavery and indentured servitude. It enables the theft of productivity by removing labor’s ability to defend its property; property that passes into the tangible output of the production line and into the ownership of the company. Without the countervailing power of collective bargaining, the equitable reward for labor’s contribution is left balancing on one leg of the stool. When the Virginia Democratic leadership tips away from this traditional base of the party, the fate of the party is sealed along with the future of the soon to be former middle class. And woe to the little-haves.  

    • KathyinBlacksburg

      part in the “Slash Mob” (as in destroy Social Security and commit other wrong-wing economic atrocities on the middle class and poor) the assault goes way beyond jobs, rt to work, etc. Here is the link. They are after everything positive for 99% of Americans.

      No jobs? They go after unemployment insurance. Next?  No unemployment insurance?  Next?  Little or no pensions (the average long time worker has $66 k in his/her 401k to retire on.  The average worker has less than $11k in his/hers)?  But they fail to protect US pensioners and 401 k owners fro excessive fees and little growth.  (Many don’t even have access to 401ks).  Next? They go after and savage Social Security. If this is what we get from a supposed Dem, there is just no point anymore…

      This is how a political party sets itself up to lose on into perpetuity.  In addition, thy have no guts, no soul, no humanity. How does Mark Warner look at his rich self in the mirror?  He thinks he will be president in 2016?  And, btw, why is he partnering with Saxby Chambliss?  This is something no Democrat should accept. “Splitting the difference” with Saxby Chambliss (who infamously used OBL’s image to pair it with hero Max Cleland)is making a pack with–well, you know. And in this case, splitting the difference = total sell out and totally immoral.

      PS When will the likes of Warner stop deceiving on Social security and the deficit?  Social Security has contributed not one penny to the deficit and a simple fix would mean it would never run out of its revenue stream.  

      Social security is earned.  We pay for it.  We get the other half contributed by employers in lieu of wages.  And they still want to steal that from us.  They try to con or molify current retirees by saying it won’t affect you.  BS what they are attempting will affect EVERYONE, current and future.  And future generations of recipients matter too.  Again, one fix (FICA on all earned income) will assure Social Security for everyone for more least least 80 years.  Social Security is not broke.  Nor is the country.  But a severe deficit reduction program during a severe recession will destroy us.  But Mark Warner will still be rich and having contempt for the rest of us.  But you know he “earned” his wealth.  He thinks those who work ever day for a lifetime, don’t deserve much of anything.

    • blueice6102

      It hurts Virginia’s laborers. Unions protect them.