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What's New at MTD
Report: Right-to-Work States Get 'Free Ride' Off American Taxpayers

Reprinted from

Workers in states with so-called “right-to-work” laws on average receive a disproportionate amount of public assistance, compared with the federal income taxes they pay, than workers in states that require every worker to pay their fair share for union representation, according to a report released by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Researchers say right-to-work laws encourage more workers to “free-ride,” not only unions’ efforts by not contributing dues or fees, but also the rest of American taxpayers.

“By paying more in taxes, workers in [non-right-to-work] states are subsidizing the low-wage, low-skill model of employment in right-to-work states,” reads the report entitled “Free Rider States.”

Researchers find that while right-to-work states may experience a small increase in employment, any economic advances are immediately undercut by “a significant decrease in total labor income, a considerable decline in state income tax revenues, an even larger drop in federal income tax revenues, and an increased depletion of public budgets.”

Also as a result, unions become “resource-starved, causing [them] to underperform,” reads the report. “The true intent of a right-to-work law is to discourage union activity and reduce bargaining power for workers.”

As it currently stands, 24 states have right-to-work laws allowing non-union workers to receive the benefits of collective bargaining off the backs of their dues-paying co-workers. But the conservative push for more right-to-work laws is “evolving mutating,” says a recent report by the St. Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune.

Conservatives are now targeting the city and county level, in a twisted effort to get the issue before the Supreme Court.

“Like a deadly disease mutating into an even deadlier form, right-to-work has mutated in a new, more sinister direction,” writes labor reporter Ed Finkelstein. “Quietly, the American City County Exchange (ACCE) – an initiative of the archconservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – has begun working to pass right-to-work laws at the city and county level. Or at least that appears to be its public goal. A review by the Labor Tribune of the group’s initial efforts clearly indicates a new right-wing strategy, one where RTW backers, whether they win or lose at the local level, expect legal challenges from the losing side that will ultimately get the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court. The legal challenges, funded by the National Right To Work Foundation or the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation, will wind up before what one reporter called ‘the corporate-friendly U.S. Supreme Court.’”

Read more on the right wing’s new right-to-work tactic here.

Statement from Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO President Ault on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order

I am honored to be at the White House to witness the signing of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order.  The Metal Trades Department and its affiliated unions have been advocating for and supporting this action for many years.

Our organizations have witnessed first hand the abuses of unscrupulous federal contractors wage theft of their workers and the unlawful retaliation when workers try to exercise their rights. The terms of the Contractor's federal contracts require them to obey and abide by the laws. Although the vast majority of contractors play by the rules, every year tens of thousands of American workers are not treated fairly. Many are denied overtime wages, not hired or paid fairly because of their gender or age, or have their health and safety put at risk by corporations contracting with the federal government that cut corners.  Today, President Obama is cracking down on federal contractors who put workers’ safety and hard-earned pay at risk.

This Executive Order means that there will be consequences that will actually deter this unlawful action.

We thank President Obama for issuing this Executive Order.

# # #

The Metal Trades Department is a trade department of the AFL-CIO. It was chartered in 1908 to coordinate negotiating, organizing and legislative efforts of affiliated metalworking and related crafts and trade unions. Seventeen national and international unions are affiliated with the MTD today. More than 100,000 workers in private industry and federal establishments work under contracts negotiated by MTD Councils. Workers retain membership in their own trade unions.

Ingalls Shipbuilding Celebrates Apprentice Graduation
By George Blackwell, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) informs that it has held a graduation ceremony for graduates of Ingalls Shipbuilding's Apprentice School. The ceremony, held at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention Center, celebrated the accomplishments of 72 students representing various crafts at Ingalls. Read More...
            WASHINGTON (PAI)--By a 196-211 margin, the GOP majority in the U.S. House rejected a Democratic attempt to aid low-wage workers.  All 186 voting House Democrats and 10 Republicans favored the move, which would have barred federal contracts to firms that violate minimum-wage and overtime-pay laws. Read More...
Owner of Avondale Shipyard acquires energy company UniversalPegasus

By Jed Lipinski, | The Times-Picayune on June 02, 2014 at 4:28 PM, updated June 02, 2014 at 4:37 PM

In what may be a good sign for Avondale Shipyard, Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today that is has acquired UniversalPegasus International Holdings, a Houston company that provides engineering and project management services to the energy sector.

The news comes shortly after Huntington Ingalls, a shipbuilder based in Newport News, Va., agreed to conduct a six-month study with Kinder Morgan Energy Partners to determine a new use for the struggling shipyard, whose workforce has been reduced to less than 500 from around 5,000 in 2010. Keep Reading >

Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO
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