Beware of 'right to work' measures

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Do not believe what's being said by those backing so-called "right to work" legislation -- bills that hurt unions and have been rejected in previous legislative cycles. Passing a so-called "right to work" law in Pennsylvania will not help our economy or improve families lives. Eight of the 10 states with the highest rates of poverty are states with so-called "right to work" laws in place, while seven of the 10 states with the lowest rates of poverty are states that do not have such laws (which I will refer to as "right to bargain" states). Further, eight of the 10 states with the highest gross domestic product are "right to bargain."

Meanwhile, there are lower rates of infant mortality and higher family incomes in states where workers are able to bargain for safer working conditions, better pay and health care. Pennsylvanians have an average family income that is better than those earned by families in 20 of the 24 "right to work" states, and our GDP outranks that of 15 of those same states (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control).

If you want to know what so-called "right to work" laws do, then look to the tragedy that happened recently in Texas -- a state that is "proudly" "right to work." I believe that the state's lax safety and health regulations and reduced protections for workers who could potentially blow the whistle on a company's avoidance of such regulations is what ultimately led to the death of 14 first-responders and the incineration of a factory that employed hundreds of Texans.

ERIC D. RUSSELL
Morningside


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