October 9, 2008 12:01 AM
I'd be the first to tell you that the Rocky Mountain News is a terrific place to work; an upbeat, energetic newsroom in spite of the woes of the newspaper industry, a pleasant environment, a responsive management, good benefits, benign work rules.
That was decidedly not the case when I started here more than thirty years ago. The salary, benefits, pension and work rules we ink-stained wretches enjoy today were hard won in collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the Newspaper Guild and later, after a merger, the Communication Workers of America. I've been a union member since I joined the Rocky. It hasn't been cheap. There have been many times I could have used the dues I pay the union, but it never seemed right to me to take the benefits the union negotiated on my behalf without paying for the salary of the negotiators.
Right to work is always sold as a benefit to employees, allowing them to choose whether to support a union or not, but in truth it's simply an assault by business owners on employees. States with right to work laws invariably have lower salaries and benefits than those which allow closed shops. Take a look at who supports this bill. I'll give you a hint: it isn't a bunch of hourly workers taking an unpaid break from the lobster shift to ask you to please help the boss control his labor costs. If that's not persuasive, here's another way to look at it: one way to limit excessive CEO pay is to pay employees more.