The False Slogan: Racist Roots of Right-To-Work

Right-to-Work was started in the Jim Crow South of the 1940s by a self-described white supremacist.

By American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

Proponents of so-called “right to work” often use lofty language to sell their agenda, but the truth behind right to work is much uglier. It was started in the Jim Crow South of the 1940s by a self-described white supremacist.

But right to work is about freedom only in this way: It’s about taking away the freedom of working people to join together in strong unions. It’s no secret that wealthy corporations and individuals are pouring money into politics like never before to stack the deck against working people and pad their own profits. The State Policy Network (SPN), an alliance of right-wing think tanks with a combined annual budget of $80 million, is an example. In a 2016 fundraising letter, it announced a “breakthrough” campaign to “defund and defang” public service unions.

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