Guest post by John Karebian, Executive Director of the Michigan Nurses Association. Cross-posted at Fight for Main Street.


“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right to work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining. We demand this fraud be stopped.” 

Martin Luther King Jr., 1961


America’s workers have been fighting so-called “Right to Work” legislation for decades. As the fight emerges here in Michigan, we must see this threat clearly for what it is – big corporations’ attempt to silence workers’ voices so they can pay them less and give them fewer benefits.

Those who are driving this back-door effort to destroy collective bargaining should see reality clearly, too, and that reality is this: Their power grab is backfiring. Corporate attacks on the 99 percent have inspired a long-overdue power shift instead.

The workers who built the middle class and whose blood, sweat and tears create the profits hoarded by greedy corporations are taking their power back in:

  • New Hampshire, where the Republican-controlled House failed to overturn the Governor’s veto of “Right to Work” legislation this week and kept that domino from falling in New England;
  • Wisconsin, where more than half the 540,000 signatures needed to recall Governor Scott Walker for his attacks on collective bargaining were collected in just 12 days;
  • Ohio, where voters overwhelmingly repealed the union-busting SB 5;
  • And right here in Michigan, where the effort to repeal the emergency manager law – yet another tool to break collectively bargained contracts – is well on its way to success

The Michigan Nurses Association is proud to be working with nurses around the country to fuel a power shift away from greedy corporations and the politicians they control. The Occupy movement has accelerated this. Together, we’re putting the spotlight on rebuilding our country through solutions that support the 99 percent, including a tax on financial transactions

It’s time for Wall Street to pay. It’s time for workers to take their power back. 

And it’s time for us, the people, to face another reality: While undoing destructive laws and removing anti-worker politicians from office are important actions, it’s more important to stop them in the first place. That’s why it’s time to show our power at the ballot box.

So every time you see “RTW,” remember. Remember how the people who are dead set on destroying workers’ basic rights took the power away from the rest of us last year.

Remember. And get ready. Because the people are rising up to reclaim their power in November.

From now on, “RTW” stands for “Rising up To Win.” 

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