The rough and unvarnished truth is that right-to-work laws that discourage labor union formation in a number of states are killing America's coal miners and other workers. Without the benefit of miners or other workers being able to form a labor union, they cannot complain about unsafe working conditions without fear of losing their job. A labor union gives the workers a place to safely make safety concerns known and helps to prevent accidents of all sorts. It also prevents senseless and entirely preventable deaths.
Former workers of the mine in Utah have already told CNN that workers lived in fear of losing their job if they complained about safety conditions. And one worker claimed that this company valued profits way above the safety of the workers, and work quotas were always expected.
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming all have right-to-work laws on the books that endanger the lives of workers, leaving workers no safe place to report serious safety problems at their workplace without the fear of losing their job. It is usually only after a death or serious accident that state or federal authorites finally act with fines or other actions in nonunion businesses. In union businesses, accidents are often prevented by correcting the safety problem.
And it is not only nonunion mineworkers who have to live in fear of losing their jobs. Workers in businesses such as nursing homes have been known to lose their jobs when they reported incidents of theft or sexual abuse of patients by other staffers. Serious patient abuse incidents including physical violence often go unreported in nonunion nursing homes, and should be a serious concern to anyone who wants to place a beloved familiy member in such a nonunion business.
The fact of the matter is the labor union provides the worker a safe place to lodge safety complaints or other real concerns, and the union protects the jobs of the workers from wrongful termination. In addition union workers earn a far higher salary, health care and retirement benefits than comparable nonunion workers. But you cannot put a dollar value on providing workers a safe place to file safety complaints against unsafe mine conditions which can result in serious roof falls, cave-ins and deaths. Being a union member may mean the difference between life or death in some workplaces.
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