Adapted from the June 2009 issue of Z Magazine

Anti-Union Impresario

When Reed Larson stepped down in 2003 as executive director of the National Right to Work Committee after 45 years on the job, the Washington Times reported:

“This has been an opportunity for me to have the greatest impact in defeating the entity I feel is very detrimental to individual freedom," Mr. Larson said. "The unions are for more government, more taxes, more regulation, and they operate under a set of rules and laws that are designed to give special privileges to organized labor.”

It was a rare moment of candor in a career spent claiming that he and the National Right to Work Committee were not against unions—just against abuses by unions. That certainly sounds reasonable. Dig a little deeper into that claim, however, and the anti-union quote by the 80-year-old Larson seems the more accurate reflection of reality. Larson may have let his guard down in talking to the Washington Times, an ultraconservative newspaper owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Larson was, after all, talking to a reporter for a key component in the Hard Right political network that he entered in the 1950s as a young and energetic anti-union organizer active in the local Wichita, Kansas Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Since its founding, the National Right to Work Committee has been an essential part of a coordinated ultraconservative campaign to undermine the right of working people to organize on behalf of their economic interest, ensure worksite health and safety, and defend their basic dignity.

Subscribers to Z Magazine can read the rest of this article in the June issue. The full text will be posted here on June 15.

 

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