Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Union supporters and Democrat legislators in Indiana oppose civil rights legislation and worker safety rules.

In one of the most ironic political reversals ever, Democrats in the Indiana House of Representatives are uniting with supporters of wealthy union leaders and lobbyists to oppose expanding civil rights for workers. This comes from opposition to legislation that is the equivalent of and would have the same effect as protecting the rights of workers based upon religious preference. Basically they would oppose the protections guaranteed by the 1964 Civil Rights Act and more recently the Americans with Disabilities Act.

That catchy headline may have grabbed your attention and left you thinking that Stu is way off the mark on this one -- making employment decisions or holding a political position is not the same as being born of a particular race or gender. But quite to the contrary, I believe that if you read this entire article and follow the logical reasoning in support of my proposition, you will also accept that the right to work is a civil right.

Civil Rights

First, I present some information on Title VII of the Civil rights Act of 1964. It prohibits discrimination by covered employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Subsequent legislation was responsible for expanding the list to include pregnancy, age, and disability discrimination.

Here you can see that race, color, gender, age, national origin, pregnancy, religion and disability are the protected classifications under the Act. Both public and private entities are forbidden under federal law to discriminate in favour of or against any person based upon membership in any of those protected classes except in very limited circumstances. I want to examine each of these individually.

Race: There is nothing less within someone's control than the race that he or she is born to. It is decided by genetics and nothing can change that prior to birth of afterward.

Colour: Similar to race there is little one can do to affect one's colour. The two are not synonymous but are often interrelated. However, chemical processes can affect one's colour as well as exposure to sunlight [ultraviolet rays].

Gender: Again, there is nothing less within someone's control than the gender that he or she is born to. Gender reassignment surgeries may change the external physical apparatus but cannot change the reproductive capacities to which one is assigned. That is a male cannot develop ovum and produce eggs nor may a woman develop testes and produce sperm.

Age: In the sense of the law age is calculated upon the date of birth only. Extremely premature babies may be developmentally much younger than their full-term peers while those with exceptionally well lifestyle habits may appear to have a much younger age. However, none of that is considered under the law.

National origin: Unlike country of origin, national origin is quite similar to race. National origin is often a sub-class of race. There is nothing that someone can do to affect his national origin either.

Pregnancy: Except in the case of rape, incest or incapacity due to age or mental disability pregnancy is a conscious decision, a choice, unlike any of the other protected classes in civil rights law.

Religion: Similar to pregnancy, religion is also a conscious decision or freely made choice. Unlike pregnancy though organized religion gains adherents to the cult through indoctrination and a suspension of truth or reality. Anyone who has ever tried to deprogram these cult members realizes the extent to which choice may no longer hold much weight, especially for those indoctrinated at a very young age.
Their is valid scientific evidence that demonstrates a causal connection between higher intelligence and lessened susceptibility to cult influence. Also, intelligence has been shown to be highly influenced by genetics. Thus, people are born with tendencies to either engage in organized religious practices or to reject those.

Disability: Disability is a multifaceted class. Disabilities may be genetic, occur during pregnancy such as from the use of anti-obesity drugs or come wholly based upon the actions of the disabled person such as voluntarily going into a combat arena and getting injured. Indiana court's once found that an individual who engaged in risky actions that had the ability to but were not the direct consequence or intended result of the action but resulted in an earnings incapacity was not justification for lowering child support payment obligations. This position was reversed in 2007 by the Indiana Supreme Court in Lambert v Lambert. Prior to that time [and currently in some other states] the logical premise was if you choose to work as a fireman, fall off a ladder while fighting a fire, suffer injuries that result in becoming a paraplegic, get discharged from employment because of your inability to function as a firefighter then you voluntarily chose to become unemployed and were still obligated to make child support payments or face incarceration.

So there we can see that protected classes under civil rights legislation includes those that range from 100% genetic to quasi-conscious decisions that have a genetic influence. Scientific research has now determined that what may initially appear as a conscious decision or preference may actually be a genetic predisposition. The most widely known of this is gender preference.

Homosexuals have long held that they didn't choose to be homosexual. While sexuality is still a conscious decision [some people do choose abstinence] there is a genetic influence for gender preference. That is to say that similar to religion, genes cannot be responsible for someone joining one of those cults or for making the decision to engage in sexual activity. However, there is an underlying preference for or against religion or homosexuality that is genetically based.

Scientific study of underlying preferences affecting conscious decisions has recently been expanded. There is now credible scientific evidence that suggest that political decisions such as party affiliation, support or opposition to the death penalty or abortion and school prayer are genetically influenced.

In one study, three political scientists - Dr. John Hibbing of the University of Nebraska, Dr. John R. Alford of Rice University and Dr. Carolyn L. Funk of Virginia Commonwealth - combed survey data from two large continuing studies including more than 8,000 sets of twins.

The researchers then compared dizygotic or fraternal twins, who, like any biological siblings, share 50 percent of their genes, with monozygotic, or identical, twins, who share 100 percent of their genes. The researches found an increased correlation for certain political preferences among monozygotic twins. That is to say that twins with identical genetic material had higher rates of agreement on political issues than siblings with different genetic material.

On school prayer, for example, the identical twins' opinions correlated at a rate of 0.66, a measure of how often they agreed. The correlation rate for fraternal twins was 0.46. This translated into a 41 percent contribution from inheritance.

In previous studies researches have found that attitudes about issues like school prayer, property taxes, political party affiliation and the draft were among the most influenced by inheritance. Others like modern art and divorce were less so. The overall score, derived from 28 questions, found that genes accounted for 53 percent of the differences among the two types of twin sets.

Support or opposition to membership in an organization that devalues individual accomplishment and does not reward exceptional achievement has a basis in genetics. The basis for preferences for union membership, which is partially based upon genetics, may come from evolutionary development.

In collective based tribes or cultures those individuals who were born with a genetic preference of independence may have found themselves not contributing to the group, shunned from the society and then unable to survive or not finding a mate and thus not having their genes passed on. People from these cultures would then be predisposed, genetically, to join a labour union. Other societies where individuality was rewarded may have the opposite effect.

In a society that developed where the females may have selected mates based upon individual hunting skills, strength or other displays of individual achievement those who placed a higher value on self-reliance would have passed on their genetic material. These societies would produce individuals with a genetic preference for competition and independence. Thus these people would be less genetically inclined to join a labour union.

Therefore, the decision to join a union or not seek employment where one is required to join a labour union to be hired has a basis in genetics similar to or moreso than religion. Right to Work is clearly a civil rights matter then. But under current Indiana law people born with a preference related to membership in a labour union are not a protected class. Although it may go against an ingrained moral code of an individual, employers can require employees to contribute a portion of their earnings to support labour union organizations, leaders and lobbyist.

Put another way -- without current civil rights protections an employer or the government could make a condition of employment be that employees join the Catholic church and tithe 10% of their earnings to support the Vatican, church leaders and missionary efforts. I think it is safe to say that nearly everyone, including Catholics, would find that to be an injustice and seek protections against the practice.

Right to Work legislation seeks to remedy the similar injustice of requiring payment to a labour union as a condition of employment which may go against the very genetic moral fiber of an individual based upon an inherited trait.

Worker Safety

Another irony of the opposition of RTW legislation is the position taken by the labour unions with respect to government intrusion into private business matters.

Opponents to this expansion of worker's civil rights argue that the government should not be allowed to interfere in the agreements between employers and employees. They argue that if an employer wants to hire men only and the men working there agree with it then the government would be invading upon their right to mutually agree upon the terms of employment it the government were to mandate that employment opportunities be opened to women also.

Quite succinctly they say that the government should but out of private business. But this is directly contrary to the long history of labour union lobbying efforts. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration exist largely based upon the efforts of labour union lobbyists. They argued that employers should not have the liberty to agree with workers on the terms of employment that could impair workers safety or health.

Essentially, unions demanded that the federal government establish laws and rules to limit work hours, exposure to hazards and a series of safety or health related matters that now rivals the tax code. Using their current argument against RTW legislation union leaders would like to see OSHA disbanded and worker safety and health rules repealed.s

But now that the State of Indiana wants to mandate that employers provide opportunities to more out-of-work Hoosiers that does not discriminate based upon inherited traits labour unions and Democratic legislators oppose those worker protections.

On a final note that provides dim hopes for our political future -- the researchers who did the twins studies are not optimistic about the future of bipartisan cooperation or national unity. Because men and women tend to seek mates with a similar ideology, they say, the two gene pools are becoming, if anything, more concentrated and polarized, not less.

For assistance with employment or other life challenges please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2012 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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