Sunday, December 16, 2012

Racist roots of right to work laws

Posted By on Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 6:49 AM

RIGHT TO wORK FOR LESS: 24 states now have the anti-union law.
  • RIGHT TO wORK FOR LESS: 24 states now have the anti-union law.
Facing South offers a good piece of political history on the roots of right-to-work laws now that Michigan joined Arkansas and 22 other states with laws that allow non-union workers to free-ride on union contracts.

(Say, that supposedly pro-business tool really made Arkansas an economic powerhouse, didn't it?)

From the article:

The history of anti-labor "right-to-work" laws starts in Houston. It was there in 1936 that Vance Muse, an oil industry lobbyist, founded the Christian American Association with backing from Southern oil companies and industrialists from the Northeast.

As Dartmouth sociologist Marc Dixon notes in his fascinating history of the period, "The Christian American Association was the first in the nation to champion the 'Right-to-Work' as a full-blown political slogan."

Muse was a fixture in far-right politics in the South before settling into his anti-labor crusade. In his 1946 book "Southern Exposure," crusading journalist Stetson Kennedy wrote:

The man Muse is quite a character. He is six foot four, wears a ten-gallon hat, but generally reserves his cowboy boots for trips Nawth. Now over fifty, Muse has been professionally engaged in reactionary enterprises for more than a quarter of a century.

As Kennedy described, these causes included opposing women's suffrage, child labor laws, integration and growing efforts to change the Southern political order, as represented in the threat of Roosevelt's New Deal.

The bigoted anti-human rights crusaders of the '40s and '50s are, of course, the Republican Party of today's Solid South. Note the map of right to work states.

Tags: , , ,


Speaking of...

Comments (13)

Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Fort Smith mosque vandalized

    Fort Smith's Al Salam mosque was vandalized Thursday morning.
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • The open line and headlines

    Here's the Thursday open line and mid-afternoon news roundup.
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Kochs spread money around Arkansas

    The Koch Industries PAC spread a lot of money around in September, including significant sums in state legislative races around the country. All politics is local when you have a big polluting industry to look after.
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

People who saved…

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Fort Smith mosque vandalized

    • Later today, er, yesterday a report came in that the spray paint vandals also got…

    • on October 21, 2016
  • Re: Fort Smith mosque vandalized

    • Your Norma will never forget the day in 2002 when her doorbell (then in Brentwood)…

    • on October 21, 2016
  • Re: The open line and headlines

    • Mika Brzezinski adopts a rescue dog, found abandoned and chained to a tree in Arkansas…

    • on October 21, 2016



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation