OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Right-to-work laws are the wrong way to deal with labor in the United States, consumer advocate Ralph Nader says.
Nation labor laws should allow workers to "band together in a democratic election, and all workers, if the majority wish to have a union, must bear the same responsibilities," he said Wednesday.
Nader, presidential nominee of the Green Party, was responding to a question about Gov. Frank Keating's push for passage of a right-to-work law in Oklahoma.
Nader said fewer than 10 percent of American workers in the private economy are members of trade unions.
"If ... Keating wants to publicize Oklahoma as a kind of fiefdom for giant business, then he's got to really consider why he's turning his back on these workers," Nader said.
He said the trade union movement in the past 110 years has built the middle class and given millions of families a decent standardo f living and a better workplace.
If Keating doesn't recognize those achievements, "then he doesn't understand American history," Nader said.
Nader was in Oklahoma to kick off his campaign to collect 36,202 signatures on petitions to place his name on the state's ballot in November.
He said Oklahoma is one of about 10 states in which the two major parties "have gotten together in the Legislature and raised huge signature hurdles to try to keep out their competition."
"We're going to challenge these obstacles to democratic participation and wider political choice in the courts ... later this year and next year," he said. Oklahoma's deadline is July 14.