February 2012 Archives

In an article in today's Star Tribune ("GOP weighs cost of union battle"), Minnesota State Senator Dave Thompson, a supporter of Minnesota's right-to-work initiative, is quoted as saying about the proposed Minnesota right-to-work law, "In my opinion, there's nothing we can do that is more beneficial for people's freedom and liberty, and creating a better business climate in this state.'' Seriously?

Last night I had the distinct pleasure and honor of meeting Professor Ron McCallum and hearing him speak at the University of Sydney. Professor McCallum is arguably Australian's most eminent labor law professor. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Senior Australian of the Year 2011, and is the first totally blind person to have been appointed to a full professorship at an Australian university. He is currently serving on a select committee to review Australia's central piece of labor law, the Fair Work Act.

Greetings from Melbourne, Australia! It's interesting being in a country where industrial relations is such a prominent subject. Controversies over industrial relations legislation were central to the federal election campaign in 2007, and the current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations before becoming Prime Minister. Indeed, even Melbourne's tallest building has some interesting labor symbolism.

Say What? A Right-to-Work?

| No Comments

So-called "right-to-work" laws are again a hot topic of debate. Most right-to-work laws were passed decades ago, but Indiana (Republican) lawmakers hurriedly passed a right-to-work law last week, and Minnesota Republicans are pushing to have a right-to-work law included on the state's November ballot. The conservative perspective was succinctly summed up by a Minnesota legislator launching this initiative: "There is nothing more fundamental to my economic liberty than the ability to obtain employment, feed myself and my family, without having to pay another organization to do it" (Star Tribune, February 3, 2012). Powerful words. But accurate?