I recently received a mailing from the “New Mexico Right to Work Committee.” It is a large and expensive direct mail campaign including cards for me to send to non-right to work candidates in the state urging them to vote for right-to-work legislation in our state.
A quick look online for the “New Mexico Right to Work Committee” connects to the “National Right to Work Committee” which was the subject of a recent documentary on PBS. The documentary is called “Dark Money” and can be streamed from PBS here http://www.pbs.org/pov/darkmoney/ and also will be shown this Sunday evening at 8 pm on channel 9.1. The documentary is about how the money to support organizations such as the “New Mexico Right to Work Committee” comes from unknown and perhaps even foreign donors intent on influencing government for the benefit of corporations and extremely wealthy individuals without any kind of transparency about the source or motives of the donors.
I know that Unions are not always perfect but the fact is that in non-right-to-work states workers enjoy higher wages on average compared to right-to-work states. So although right to work sounds like a basic freedom, the real reasons corporations push for it is not to support the rights of individuals. It is to make it easier to keep wages low with such practices as firing senior workers and hiring younger workers just because the more experienced workers cost a bit more. These practices are deeply unfair. Why should someone be fired just because they have been doing a good job for many years? Even though Unions can have their flaws, eliminating them as right-to-work legislation seeks to do, is not a good compromise.
In our post “Citizens United” world, corporations and anonymous donors can give unlimited money to promote their causes. Citizens are limited in how much money they can contribute to a candidate. To push back against this imbalance and promote fairer elections, I recommend that people question the sources of the mailings they will be getting in the run up to the midterm elections. I have even seen letters to the editor in this paper that struck me as unrepresentative of the people of New Mexico. When I looked up the names with which the letters were signed, I have not found any evidence of anyone in the state with even a remotely similar name. The Internet makes it easy to find pretty much anyone so I suspect these letters were manufactured by a campaign or foreign government. I urge the LA Daily Post to do a simple search on names with something like whitepages.com before publishing letters. I urge voters to check into the organizations behind mailings of any type before responding to them. It is sad but there are many organizations who want to influence our votes with disingenuous appeals to our common sense and good intentions.