Indeed, in each state where anti-union legislation was advanced, voters typically perceived it as the product of homegrown politicians and a response to the unique conditions of their state.
In fact, however, broadly similar legislation was proposed simultaneously in multiple states, whose fiscal conditions often had little in common.
In the case of Maine, the state legislature passed laws restricting the collective bargaining rights of certain private-sector employees who are covered under state labor law (see endnotes 3 and 4 for more detail).
By documenting the similarities in how analogous bills have been advanced in multiple states, the report establishes the extent to which legislation emanates not from state officials responding to local economic conditions, but from an economic and policy agenda fueled by national corporate lobbies that aim to lower wages and labor standards across the country.
In 20, state legislatures undertook numerous efforts to undermine wages and labor standards: These efforts provide important context for the much-better-publicized moves to undermine public employee unions.
The report highlights legislation authored or supported by major corporate lobbies such as the Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, and National Association of Manufacturers—and by corporate-funded lobbying organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Prosperity—in order to draw the clearest possible picture of the legislative and economic policy agenda of the country’s most powerful economic actors.
To make the most clear-eyed decisions in charting future policy directions, it is critical to understand how the various parts of these organizations’ agenda fit together, and where they ultimately lead.
Enforcement of wage and hour laws has long been strikingly lax.