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On March 6th, 2015 at Loyola University College of Law, Mr. Douglas A. Blackmon, author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to WWII, gave the keynote address for the the WORK IN THE SOUTH Conference. Setting the historical context for the conference, Blackmon framed the discussion of why low-wage workers in the South are more vulnerable than workers in other regions.
The Wisconsin state Senate on Wednesday passed a right-to-work bill, sending it for likely approval to the GOP-controlled state Assembly. Supporters of the Wisconsin right-to-work law note that laws like it are sweeping the Midwest, and have already been passed in Michigan and Indiana. They say it will help make the state more competitive for business.
A right-to-work law is a statute in the United States that prohibits union security agreements, or agreements between labor unions and employers.
While the pro-business package offered to businesses by right-to-work states can be appealing, it has also been shown that wages, employer-sponsored health insurance and employer-sponsored pensions in right-to-work states are lower than those in non-RTW states, and that RTW states have a higher percentage of low-wage jobs. While overall economic growth may occur more rapidly in RTW states, the benefits of this style of growth favor businesses over communities.
As reported by NPR, “in urging greatly expanded subsidies during his Tuesday [State of the Union] address, the president referenced a national child care program that was in place during World War II, when his grandmother and other American women were needed in the nation’s factories. The program is not widely known today, but if it seems hard to believe, you can see evidence for yourself on YouTube.”
These days, affordable, quality childcare in the U.S. is hard to find, and yet crucial to the participation of so many parents in the workforce. “This grainy newsreel from Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, Calif., shows smiling toddlers doing puzzles, painting and listening to a woman play music. All this plus lunch and snacks, for 50 cents a day, or about $7.25 adjusted for inflation… The Works Project Administration first ran the day cares. The idea was to employ teachers and to also watch kids so that their unemployed parents could look for jobs. When women replaced deployed soldiers in the domestic workforce during World War II, the government funded a major expansion.” Read more or listen to the original story from NPR here.
Each time there has been a demographic shift in America that threatens the existing balance of power, new election laws have appeared to try to insulate the electorate from the emerging population.