Labor Notes # 458

Dispatches from the Front Lines of Right to Work

The open shop is the rule for private sector workers in 28 “right-to-work” states, for public sector workers in 25 states, and for federal workers all over this country. That means workers covered by a union contract get to enjoy the benefits of representation without being members or paying dues.

Ever wanted to graffiti your boss a message in the toilet stall? AT&T Mobility workers put their own twist on that idea. They’re bringing the bathroom to the boss—carrying toilet seats to retail stores and call centers to demand that the company stop flushing their sales commissions and incentive pay down the toilet.

The Union Goes Live:

Phone Workers Learn Their Rights

Eli Porras Carmona had been coming to work planting and harvesting sweet potatoes in North Carolina for eight years when he got a call from Mexico. His wife needed emergency surgery and he had to return home.

Carmona works under the H-2A program, where thousands of guestworkers are granted temporary permits to work on farms in the U.S. for up to 10 months per year.

Many return year after year—and since guestworkers are tied to one employer, it’s risky to speak out on the job. The employer can easily send you home, or not call you back the next season.

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