Will your state pass Right-to-Work this year?
Last year Indiana and Michigan both passed laws allowing workers to decide whether or not they want to join a union, commonly referred to as Right-to-Work (RTW) laws. Joining 24 other states that have passed RTW laws, unions can no longer force workers to join the union as a condition of employment in these states.
But there is still much work to be done – in 26 states workers can be fired if they don’t want to pay union dues.
Freedom of association should be reason enough to enact RTW laws; however, states that enact these pro-worker reforms also reap numerous economic benefits.
According to the Mackinac Center:
Right-to-work means increasing wages. Private-sector, inflation-adjusted employee compensation in right-to-work states has grown by 12.0 percent between 2001-2011, according to data taken from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics. That compares with just 3.0 percent over the same period in forced-unionization states.
Right-to-work means low unemployment. Between 1999 and 2009, non-farm private-sector employment grew 3.7 percent in right-to-work states, but decreased 2.8 percent in non-right-to-work states. Further, the vast majority of jobs created during the Obama administration have been in states with a right-to-work law.
According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, right-to-work states (excluding Indiana, which passed a right-to-work law in early 2012) “were responsible for 72 percent of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012.”
Right-to-work makes states more attractive for business. States with right-to-work laws dominate the “Top States for Business,” as determined by CNBC. For 2012, nine out of the top 10 best states for business are right-to-work states. By contrast, Michigan is currently 33.
The Mackinac Center found that:
• Between 1980 and 2011, total employment grew by 71 percent in right-to-work states while employment in forced unionism states only grew about 32 percent. Bear in mind that [here] in Michigan, employment has grown a paltry 14 percent during that time.
• Early in 2012, our neighbor Indiana became the 23rd state to enact a right-to-work law. The differences between Indiana and Michigan are telling. Since January Indiana has added 43,300 jobs, while Michigan lost 7,300. Indiana’s manufacturing sector is far outpacing ours by adding 13,900 new jobs since January — Michigan lost 4,200
Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute writes:
The chart above (data here) shows that since the recession ended in June 2009, more than two jobs have been created in right-to-work (RTW) states for every one job created in forced unionism states (2.16 million jobs in RTW states vs. 1.05 million jobs in forced unionism states). And when you consider that the population of forced unionism states (141.4 million) is 1.38 times larger than the population of RTW states (102.6 million), that means that RTW states are creating jobs at almost three times ((2.16m / 1.05m) x 1.38) the pace as in forced unionism states. We could also say that forced unionism states would have created close to three million jobs (2.16 m x 1.38) if those states had added new jobs at the same rate as RTW states over the last three years, instead of the 1.05 million increase. In other words, there are about 2 million “missing jobs” in forced unionism states that have much to do with the politics of forced unionism.