Dennis G. lines up a fascinating collection of maps through time at Balloon Juice to illustrate trends in labor-management relations–efforts by the plutocracy to keep wages low–as moderated by the states through time. He starts with slavery, moves though convict-labor, and reaches the contempororary era.
I commend it to your attention as context for the Republican attack on workers.
Here’s his bit on the double-talk (emphasis added):
This system of boldly stealing the labor of convicts lasted into the 1930s (and versions of it still can be found in almost every State of the Union). It was FDR and the new Democrats of the New Deal who passed a series of laws that made the theft of labor more difficult and help workers to organize and collectively bargain for a fair and living wage. It work. A great middle class in America was created and for almost fifty years prosperity was shared.
The effort to push back against labor rights started almost immediately. By 1947 this movement was able to pass the Taft Hartley Act and open the door to new restrictions to the rights of workers. By the Reagan era in the 1980s, the movement to steal labor was repackaged and resold to the most gullible and cynical among us. Since then it has picked up a lot of steam. Laws to restrict the rights of workers have been given the very Orwellian name, “Right to Work” laws—as in in you have the right to work, but not the right to come together and ask for a fair deal. In a “Right to Work” State, a worker is on his or her own. The State will always fight against you. You are on your own sucker and you just have to deal with it. In a “Right to Unionize State” you have back-up, regardless of whether or not you work in a Union shop.blockquote>