Recently-Enacted Right to Work Laws Help Revive State Economies
According to U.S. Labor Department data released this spring, Michigan and Indiana, which had both adopted Right to Work laws in 2012, led the nation in manufacturing job growth in 2014.
Michigan gained a net of nearly 20,000 factory jobs last year, an absolute increase greater than any other state’s. And Indiana’s rise of over 15,000 was the second highest in the nation.
Overall, the 24 states with Right to Work laws on the books as of the end of last year picked up a total of 105,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector in 2014. That’s well over double the aggregate absolute increase for forced-unionism states.
When viewed in percentage terms, seven of the nine top-ranking states for manufacturing job gains last year had Right to Work laws on the books, but not one state in the bottom 11 protects employees from compulsory unionism.
Steel Executive: Law ‘Has Enhanced Our Ability’ to Meet Customers’ Needs
It’s not surprising that the Right to Work laws adopted by Michigan in December 2012, and by Indiana in February 2012, would help put those states at the top of the pack in factory job creation. Long-term federal data show manufacturing output is growing far more rapidly in states where unionism is voluntary.
From 2003 to 2013, for example, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, the 22 states with Right to Work protections for the entire decade experienced total real manufacturing output growth of 26.1%, nearly double the increase for the 26 states that lacked Right to Work laws for the whole time.
And a growing number of business owners and managers are willing to brave union militants’ fury and acknowledge in public what many have long said in private: Right to Work laws are often a make-or-break factor for determining where a job-creating investment is going to be made.
For example, in April Rodney Scagline, executive vice president of Carnegie, Pa.-based Union Electric Steel, included Indiana’s Right to Work law on a very short list of reasons why his firm is now planning to add roughly 35 jobs at its Valparaiso plant.
“Operating in a low-tax, right-to-work state like Indiana,” explained Mr. Scagline, “has enhanced our ability to deliver what we need to our customers, and we look forward to our continued success here in Valparaiso.”
Right to Work Advantage Not Limited to Factory Sector
National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix noted that voluntary unionism’s economic benefits aren’t limited to the factory sector. “Over time,” he said, “Labor Department data show Right to Work states typically benefit from far more rapid growth in aggregate private-sector employment.”
From 2004 to 2014, the total private payroll job increase for Right to Work states (excluding Michigan and Indiana) was 9.9%, roughly double the overall increase for forced-unionism states over the same period, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Of course, Right to Work isn’t primarily an economic issue.
“What’s most important of all,” explained Mr. Mix, “is that in Right to Work states, unlike in forced-unionism states, the freedom of individual employees to join and bankroll a union and their freedom to refuse to do either enjoy equal protection under the law.
“In forced-unionism states, unfortunately, even employees who choose not to join a union may be compelled to pay union fees, potentially as high as full union dues, in order to avoid being fired.”
Fortunately, early this year Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) respectively introduced H.R.612 and S.391, national Right To Work measures that would end this manifest injustice.
H.R.612 and S.391, otherwise known as the National Right to Work Act, would simply repeal the provisions in federal labor law that authorize compulsory union dues and fee payments as a condition of employment.
“When forced-dues repeal becomes law,” said Mr. Mix, “private-sector employees in all 50 states will have the freedom to choose as individuals whether or not to join or pay dues to a union, without facing job loss as a consequence of their decision.”
Mr. Mix vowed that the 2.8 million Committee members across the country would continue lobbying hard to build Capitol Hill support for the pending Right to Work measures, which have a total of 113 congressional sponsors as this Newsletter edition goes to press.