WASHINGTON - You'll probably find this hard to believe, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his BFF, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), are trying to weaken or kill the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by attaching to it a provision that would have created a national "right to work" for less law. Kentucky's non-dynamic duo are attempting to add the unrelated and dishonest "right to work" rules to an unrelated bill.
"Right to work" legislation does nothing to protect workers or give them rights. Federal law already prohibits most of the things people like McConnell and Paul dishonestly say that "right to work" legislation is designed to fix. Workers in "right to work" states, both unionized and nonunionized, make less in wages, have weaker benefits and face more dangerous workplace environments.
In a majority of states, it is still currently legal to fire workers for their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression as perceived by their employer. ENDA would remedy that injustice and provide an equal playing field for LGBTQ workers. The anti-worker push by McConnell and Paul actually would weaken ENDA and leave many LGBTQ workers with fewer protections. As noted by Think Progress:
The move to connect anti-worker laws to ENDA is particularly galling given that unions are often the only form of protection that LGBT workers enjoy. In the 21 states where a person can be fired for her sexuality andthe 33 states where a person can be fired for his gender identity, union contracts can offer some shelter from discriminatory bosses. McConnell and Paul may be trying to divide two major components of the Democratic Party's base, but the equality and labor movements have worked in concert for years and we are still standing strong together.
The above appeared in today's AFL-CIO Now Blog.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC)