After reading Mike Elk’s piece on Caterpillar I can’t help but wonder if these right to work laws will make the United States a new haven of low wage labor. It’s a sickening race to the bottom.
After locking out 465 members of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 27 in London, Ontario, Caterpillar decided last Friday to close its 62-year-old locomotive facility there and move production to newly “right-to-work” Indiana, where American workers will work for half of what Canadian workers would make. Caterpillar’s decision to close the plant after workers refused to agree to major wage concessions has provoked outrage across Canada in light of the fact that Illinois-based Caterpillar made a record $4.8 billion in profits in 2011.
This reinforces the thinking out there that labor activism has to become global, because corporations are able to exploit any sector of the global economy they choose. It’s going to be about global solidarity movements.