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"Right to work" is wrong


A national organization funded by billionaire CEOs and corporations has launched a new campaign to try weaken our collective strength by convincing you and your members to give up your rights. The National Right to Work Foundation (NRTWF) wants to silence your voices on the job and in Springfield so that corporate interests can pass laws that take away your ability to advocate for students and our professions through union membership.

You may have received their “teacher refund” mailing or calls in the past several weeks. NRTWF is not new on the scene, but they are becoming more aggressive than ever. The group is spending hundreds of millions to push their extremist agenda in legislatures across the country; our neighbors in Michigan and Indiana are the latest states to pass so-called “right-to-work” legislation. Illinois is their next target.

The NRTWF works closely with the American Legislative Exchange Commission (ALEC). Together, they want to: eliminate collective bargaining; silence our voices as advocates for public education and services; take away our pensions; restrict our workplace rights; privatize education and public services; and give tax breaks to corporations and the rich.We will not be fooled by this false rhetoric. They claim that “right-to-work” is good for everyone, but here are the facts:

  • Workers in “right-to-work” states earn about $1,500 less per year than workers in other states. The disparity is even higher among women and people of color;

  • Employees in “right-to-work” states are less likely to have employer-sponsored health insurance or pensions plans; and

  • Communities lose jobs when wages are lowered by “right-to-work” laws.

“Right to work” is simply wrong, and threatens the core of our union. As unionists, we must be educated and engaged on this critical issue. Here are a few suggestions to help you spread the facts about "right to work" to your colleagues, family, and friends:

  • Have conversations about “right-to-work” with coworkers, family, and friends. Talk about it at the next union meeting. Discuss it during coffee with friends. Post about it on social media. Tell everyone you know why “right-to-work” is wrong and how unions help keep our communities strong. 

  • “Return to Sender.” If you or your colleagues have received letters from NRTWF to mark them “Return to Sender” and drop them in the mail. It sends them the message that we support our union, and they will have to pay for return postage!

  • Use the facts below to spread the truth, not NRTW’s lies.

  • Sign the “I’m not fooled” petition online at

  • Show your solidarity. Wear union gear, post “Proud Union Home” signs in your window or on your lawn, or make stickers or buttons for your members. Name one day a week “Solidarity Day” at your school or worksite and wear IFT blue or your local’s color. Be creative!

  • Be politically active and encourage members to do the same. Electing candidates for office who support workers is the best way to fight off these well-funded, extremist attacks. Participate in a regional IFT Political Action Committee, volunteer on a campaign, and VOTE! Visit the IFT website for more ways to get involved.

We cannot allow right-wing billionaires to take away our rights and our collective power to make a difference. By standing together in our union, we can fight off greedy corporate attacks and protect our rights and professions.

For more information on why “right-to-work” is wrong for Illinois, visit

FACT SHEET: “Right-to-work” is wrong

Across the country, billionaire CEOs and corporations are orchestrating an attack on your rights to form unions and advocate for the students and citizens you serve. They claim that so-called “right-to-work” laws benefit employees, businesses, and our communities, but that is simply false. Research proves that “right-to-work” laws drive down wages, benefits, and the overall standard of living for workers and their families. They aren’t trying to protect you. They only want to bust unions and get richer.

Don’t be fooled. Here are the FACTS about why “right-to-work” is simply wrong.

Wrong for employees

These laws drive down wages for all workers, including non-union members.
Workers living in “right-to-work” states earn about $1,500 less per year than workers in states without these laws, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The wage penalty is even higher for women and workers of color.

EPI also found that workers in “right-to-work” states are less likely to have health insurance.
The rate of employer-sponsored health insurance for workers in “right-to-work” states is 2.6% lower than in states without these harmful restrictions.

Wrong for the economy

Communities lose jobs when wages are lowered by “right-to-work.” The Economic Policy Institute estimates that for every $1 million in wage cuts, the local economy sheds six jobs.

“Right-to-work” does not improve the employment rate. In fact, eight of the 12 states with the highest unemployment have “right-to-work” laws, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to a report from Ohio University, these laws actually led to a decrease in employment in certain industries.

Wrong for businesses

According to the Review of Law and Economics, “right-to-work” laws were not shown to improve business conditions in states.

“Right-to-work” is not a deciding factor in where businesses locate, according to a 2011 report from Area Development, a site and facility planning website.

According to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), high-tech companies that provide good-paying, American jobs favor states where unions have a strong presence, because unions provide a highly skilled workforce and decrease turnover.




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