Charleston Daily Mail: West Virginia Needs Right to Work

The editorial page of the Charleston Daily Mail forcefully makes the case for passage of a Right to Work law in West Virginia:

West Virginia University economics professor Russell Sobel dared to raise the long-dormant issue of right-to-work in his new book, “Unleashing Capitalism: Why Prosperity Stops at the West Virginia Border and How to Fix It.”

At present, West Virginia is one of 28 states where a union can force all employees to either join the union or pay union dues as part of a condition of employment.

Right-to-work legislation would end the practice of closed shops by not requiring all employees to join a union [or pay dues or fees to a labor union as a condition of employment].

“Economic research suggests states with right-to-work laws tend to do better,” Sobel said. “Of course, the unions would fight against something like this. It weakens their power.”

. . .

Certainly in a state that gives away millions in tax breaks and other incentives to business, right-to-work legislation should be considered. Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results, is a recipe for no change.

Sobel said that the unemployment rate in the right-to-work states is 4.04 percent, while it is 4.51 percent in the other states.

Delegate John Overington, R-Berkeley, has led many failed efforts to get this issue off the ground.

“West Virginia still has a major labor influence,” Overington said. “It’s almost immoral to require someone to join a union, just like it is inappropriate to make someone join a church.”

That is a good analogy. By allowing unions to have compulsory membership, the Legislature has put the state at a disadvantage in the marketplace for jobs.

The argument that this somehow will lead to a lower standard of living is laughable in a state that ranks 49th in income.