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Virginia Unions, Democratic Allies Push To Repeal Right-To-Work (For Less) Law

Published Tuesday, December 10, 2019 8:00 am
by Mark Gruenberg Via People’s World
Virginia Unions, Democratic Allies Push To Repeal Right-To-Work (For Less) Law

(ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA) - Energized by wins in November that swept Democrats – notably Pro-Worker Lawmakers - into a legislative majority in the State Capital of Richmond, Virginia Unions and their Progressive Democratic Allies have launched a big push to repeal the Old Dominion’s 72-year-old Right-To-Work (for less) Law.

Northern Virginia Labor Council President Virginia Diamond, who convened the session to discuss the repeal campaign, led the crowd in advancing arguments for repeal of Right-To-Work: “Virginia ‘is a really crappy place for Employees and Right-To-Work is one big reason why.’”

Right-To-Work not only weakens Workers, it drives down their power to improve their wages, benefits and standards of living - and it also harms Worker safety, education and progressive causes, such as the Virginia version of the Green New Deal.

“Virginia is one of nine states where income inequality has gotten worse” since the Nation started crawling out of the corporate-caused Great Recession in 2010, another speaker said.

“One of the main reasons for that is the attacks on and suppression of the Union Movement,” said the speakers, who added repeal of Right-To-Work would strengthen Workers, their unions and their power.

But Right-To-Work repeal’s sponsor, State Delegate Lee Carter of Manassas, a Democratic Socialist, warned the overflow crowd at a progressive bookstore in Arlington that the road won’t be easy.  That’s because advocates face a predictable strong and well-financed opposition and a smear campaign from business and the now-minority GOPers in the legislature.

And, term-limited Governor Ralph Northam (Democrat) often caters to the Corporate Class, saying he opposes repealing Right-To-Work.

Then there’s “The Virginia Way” in Richmond, Carter explained: “A bipartisan consensus that you do what business wants.”

The old guard and powers-that-be push it.

Carter and the Progressives push back.

“I was often on the end of (98-to-2) votes” in the House of Delegates because he opposed the Virginia Way, Carter added.

Scorecards show he dissented from the party line more than any other state lawmaker.

That party line and corporate agenda definitely does not include the causes that drew cheers, support and signatures on an activists’ list at the December 5th session: Becoming the first state in the U.S. to repeal a Right-To-Work Law; Enacting a Virginia version of the Green New Deal; Raising the State Minimum Wage; Enacting Paid Family and Medical Leave; and Ensuring Project Labor Agreements (PLA) cover state and locally-funded construction projects, among others.

Those issues and others are “about fighting for everyone,” said Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local Leader David Broder.

“It’s ‘not just about getting a raise, but fighting for economic justice, criminal justice reform, environmental justice and common-sense gun controls,’” he said.

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