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I’m hearing a lot about the urgency of Indiana’s becoming a “right-to-work” state.
What a dulcet phrase! Everyone these days hungers to get or keep a job.
But “right-to-work” is a euphemism for “right-to-employ-(or-fire)-at-will.” The company becomes the unchecked power. Any worker protections gained since Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive days are “disappeared” like Third-World dissidents.
As a public-school teacher of 21 years I am familiar with such double-speak.
My colleagues and I have front-row seats for the present pillorying of teachers and the institution of free public schools. The governor and his “reformers” (privateers! profiteers!) conspire to gut collectively bargained contracts for one-sided facsimiles.
We also witness every day in our classrooms the effect of excessive work hours on teens’ ability to study and learn.
I know of an 18-year-old compelled to work, beyond his senior-year studies, eight-hour shifts seven days per week in an area factory.
Yet he can’t imagine joining with other workers to struggle for better terms. What do we expect of a remastered corporatist America?
An America whose populace is daily bombarded with anti-union propaganda that distorts beyond recognition the meaning of words like “liberal” and “socialist.”
An America that whitewashes our history of communitarian ventures that helped shape what in our finer moments has been an ennobling national ethic of mutual assistance.
Odd how loudly corporatist America howled at proposed action against the sanctity of contracts rewarding Wall Street for crashing our economy. Yet as they extort (for no-longer-affordable student loans and such) the same public who bailed them out, obscene bonuses keep rolling in? Time to dust off that old parable of the unforgiving debtor.
BRETT ALAN SANDERS
(More letters appear in our print edition.)