Workers Deserve More Than "Right to Work"

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

... and so do their employers.

I agree with Mark Mix, who writes at Investor's Business Daily that we should, "consider the injustice of forced union dues," but my agreement largely ends there. Mix is, understandably, a proponent of so-called "Right to Work" laws, which I once advocated. I no longer do so, because, like the federal laws that force employers to deal with unions, they violate the right to contract.

That said, Mix correctly notes how well "Right-to-Work" states do economically, as compared to those that acquiesce to forced unionization:

According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR), from 2005-2015, civilian employment growth was more than twice as high in Right to Work states compared to non-Right to Work states (9.1% to 4.0%).

NILRR also reports that, last year, residents of Right to Work states had on average per capita nearly three thousand dollars more to spend in cost-of-living-adjusted disposable personal income ($41,112 to $38,212).

Of course, the better economic climate might explain why NILRR reports that, from 2005 to 2015, Right to Work states saw their resident population in their peak earning years (age 35-54) grow by more than 3% while non-Right to Work states suffered a peak earning year population decline of more than 6%. Americans are voting with their feet and Right to Work states are winning.
That said, the kind of legislation Mix advocates is, at best, a stop-gap measure that achieves a mitigatory effect via two wrongs cancelling each other out. Or: these laws might alleviate some of the prosperity-killing symptoms of improper government while the disease marches merrily along. Thomas Bowden, writing against so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" (aka "card check"), once made this point at Capitalism Magazine:
Congress should not only reject the transparent power grab known as the Employee Free Choice Act, it should start hacking at the root of the complex federal regime that denies free choice in bargaining. That means repealing the Wagner Act, so that labor law can recognize and protect the absolute right of companies and employees to deal with each other on an entirely voluntary basis.
The increased prosperity of the so-called "Right to Work" states -- not to mention indignity over an abridgement of the right to contract -- should inspire more than state-by-state skirmishes for quasi-exceptions to an immoral law that ought to be removed root and branch.

-- CAV

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