Right Wing Talking Points on ENDA – Linking “Right to Work” With Attacks on Unions

Esteemed law professor from the University of Pennsylvania Tobias Barrington Wolff was recently a guest on WHYY

ENDA flyer from PFLAG

(NPR.) Clarke Cooper of the Log Cabin Republicans was the other guest.  Tobias had this to say:

When we discussed ENDA, Clarke sought to link the issue of workplace discrimination protections to the anti-union laws that Republicans are pushing around the country.  The attempt was subtle — he did not reference the anti-union laws directly, but rather described ENDA as embodying the principle of “freedom to work” and “right to work”.  Those terms — particularly “right to work” — are the buzz words that Republicans have been using to push laws that attack public-employee unions or that make it more difficult for workplaces to become union shops.  I disassociated myself from the language, explained that these two issues are not linked, and emphasized the long-standing support that unions have provided to LGBT workplace protections — the appropriate response, I think.

This is an important tactic to be aware of, and to shut down quickly, as our efforts to enact workplace protections continue.

This is an important warning, especially in Pennsylvania where we see a fairly blatant attempt to “break” the teachers’ unions in the guise of unavoidable budget cuts to education. I expect we’ll see more attention to public unions – whether that happens before November 2012 is up in the air.  But as we push in-state for HB 300 and the workplace protections it contains, we need to be careful that we aren’t compromising labor which is so essential to all of our welfare.


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