Compulsory Union Dues Challenged Across U.S.

Right to Work laws not only protect workers’ freedom, they also increase job opportunities. Credit:

Recent State-Level Right to Work Wins Hearten Grass-Roots Groups

This year, members of grassroots groups based in states as diverse as Delaware, Maine, Montana, and New Mexico will be striving with all their might to follow in the footsteps of the six states that have passed Right to Work laws just since the beginning of 2012.

Freedom-loving citizens in Delaware, Maine, Montana, and New Mexico, as well as in other states like Minnesota and New Hampshire, will be turning up the pressure on their state legislative and executive candidates to oppose forced unionism.

And proponents of making unionism voluntary now sense they have the wind at their back, largely because of the Right to Work laws adopted over the past six years in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri.

(Unfortunately, Big Labor obstructionists have so far prevented the Missouri statute from taking effect, but the Show-Me State Right to Work proponents are now hopeful enforcement will come by late this year.)

Right to Work States Hold 2:1 Advantage in Household Employment Growth

Public efforts to enact more state Right to Work laws are intensifying in part because such laws are seen as a means for a state to attract new job-creating and income-raising business investments.

Throughout most of the nearly nine years since the official end of the 2008-2009 national recession, overall U.S. employment and incomes have risen only at a snail’s pace.

Consequently, every state is under more pressure to capture as great a share as possible of all domestic growth.

“The evidence that employment and incomes are increasing more rapidly in Right to Work states than in forced-unionism states is plentiful,” commented Mary King, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee.

“For example, U.S. Labor Department data show that, in the 22 states that already had Right to Work laws on the books back in 2007, the number of civilian household jobs grew by 8.8% over the next 10 years.

“Meanwhile, aggregate employment in the 22 states that still lacked Right to Work protections for employees as of the end of 2017 grew by just 4.2% or less than half the Right to Work average.”

(Civilian household employment is a broad measure that includes workers on employer payrolls, contractors, and the self-employed.)

Six states suffered employment losses of at least 1.5% from 2007 to 2017. Of these, five are non-Right to Work states and one became Right to Work only in 2016.

Meanwhile, seven of the top nine states for 10-year employment growth are Right to Work.

Each Worker Is ‘Entitled’ To ‘Do as He Pleases’ With ‘The Fruit of His Labor’

As compelling as such data are, the fact is that grass-roots support for the Right to Work is driven primarily by moral concerns, not economics.

Today’s Right to Work activists recognize what Abraham Lincoln recognized back in 1858, when he observed, in an Illinois speech rejecting the notion that slavery is morally or politically acceptable when imposed by popular vote:

“I believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruit of his labor, so far as it in no wise interferes with any other man’s rights . . . .”

Besides being morally right, standing up for each worker’s freedom to do as he or she pleases with the fruit of his or her labor is politically smart.

Time and Again, Politicians Have Been Rewarded For Passing Right to Work Laws

Ms. King cited the recent examples of Wisconsin and West Virginia, where lawmakers enacted state Right to Work laws over Big Labor’s loud and angry protests in early 2015 and early 2016, respectively.

“On Election Night, 2016,” she recalled, “every single pro-Right to Work Wisconsin legislator who sought reelection was returned to office. The following year, the Republican legislative leaders who had ushered through forced-dues repeal enjoyed expanded majorities in the state Assembly and Senate.

“Meanwhile, the Mountain State’s GOP Senate caucus, which had supplied all of the chamber’s 18 votes for Right to Work the previous winter, expanded from 18 seats to 22 seats after the 2016 general elections.

“And the uniformly pro-forced unionism Democrat Senate caucus in West Virginia shrank from 16 seats to 12.”

(Click here to download the April 2018 National Right to Work Newsletter)