Happy Labor Day
From anti-labor South Carolina
Happy Labor Day from the most anti-labor state in the country, with the lowest rate of union membership (largely thanks to strict “right to work” laws and the Branch v Myrtle Beach state Supreme Court decision1, which stripped public employees of most of the meager rights private employees here have to join associations with collective bargaining power, primarily by arguing that state and local agencies are somehow not employers).
In some of the earliest posts from this newsletter, I wrote about South Carolina’s absurdly one-sided teacher contract. In honor of Labor Day, I’m removing the paywall from that series, which you can access through the links on the post below. A state with collective bargaining rights for public employees would have its share of problems, but it would never allow a contract this unfair, or this destructive to the state’s ability to recruit and retain teachers.
Here’s my version of a teacher supply list:
I’m currently looking for my next full-time job, and supplementing my income through writing, including this newsletter. If you found this useful or interesting, please help me continue this work by sharing and/ or subscribing.
You can read that case here: https://www.sccourts.org/opinions/displayOpinion.cfm?caseNo=25131
Unfortunately, this finding, as well as the “right to work statute,” are often used in South Carolina by anti-labor propagandists to argue the unions are illegal in the state. In fact, union membership is a constitutionally-protected right, and “right to work” laws demonstrate this fact by using loopholes and workarounds to disempower unions and associations without banning them. As Starbucks workers in several South Carolina locations have demonstrated in the past few years, it is very possible to unionize in South Carolina, and even public employees can and do join local affiliates of national unions, like the National Education Association (SCEA) and other professional associations like the South Carolina Association of School Librarians. (And to know how much a force for good these associations can be, look no further than the way rightwing culture warriors are trying to demonize them in the war on educators: SC Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver just broke fifty years of bipartisan tradition by pointlessly breaking off ties with SCASL, which seems like a naked attempt to copy state “Freedom Caucus” organizations in attacking the American Library Association a month ago.)