Compulsory Unionism Drives Away Breadwinners

Number of 35-54 Year-Olds in Forced-Dues States Falling Sharply

Union propagandists often grossly understate, or “forget” about altogether, regional cost-of-living differences when they are debating living standards in Right to Work states vs. forced-unionism states.

Downplaying or ignoring this key issue makes it easier to create a fantasy world where compulsory unionism is somehow economically beneficial.

But however stubbornly Big Labor insists that corralling workers into unions somehow makes them richer, there is one unimpeachable fact that union spokesmen have extraordinary difficulty explaining away:

Over Past Decade, Forced-Dues States’ Peak-Earning-Year Population Fell by 7.4%

When they have a choice, working-age people prefer not to live in forced-unionism states.

Considered together, age-grouped state population data for 2016 released by the U.S. Census Bureau in late June and comparable data for 2006 tell an important story.

They show that, over the past decade, the total population of people in their peak-earning years (aged 35-54) for the 24 states that still lacked Right to Work protections in 2016 fell from 46.36 million to 42.93 million.

That represents a decline of roughly 3.5 million, or 7.4%.

(Today, there are only 22 forced-unionism states, not 24, but Kentucky and Missouri became Right to Work only this year.)

Nationwide, the peak-earning-year population fell by 4.2% from 2006 to 2016, but in the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books, there was no overall net decline at all.

And the correlation between forced-unionism status and peak-earning-year population decline is quite robust.

Among the 46 states that were either Right to Work or forced-unionism for the whole period from 2006 to 2016, the 10 states experiencing the most severe peak-earning-year losses are all forced-unionism.

(See the chart below for additional information.)

Breadwinners Favor States Where They Can Provide Better For Their Families

Had the decline in the 24 states that still lacked Right to Work protections in 2016 been only as severe as the national average, they would have had roughly 1.5 million more residents in their peak-earning years as of 2016.

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented:

“The obvious and correct explanation for the data is that breadwinners, along with their families, are fleeing forced-unionism states in droves.

“Working men and women find again and again that they cannot provide as well for their families in such states as they can in Right to Work states, with their generally higher real incomes and lower living costs.”

Cost of Living-Adjusted Income Per Capita More Than $2,400 Higher in Right to Work States

Mr. Mix pointed to U.S. Commerce Department data, adjusted for regional differences in cost of living with an index calculated by the nonpartisan Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

They show that, in 2016, seven of the eight highest-ranking states for disposable income per capita had Right to Work laws.

They also show the average cost of living-adjusted disposable income per capita in Right to Work states last year, after weighting for state population differences, was $42,814, more than $2,400 higher than the forced-unionism average.

Mr. Mix concluded: “Union bosses know full well that large compulsory-unionism states like California and New York are far more expensive than the national average.  But they can’t admit it in the context of the Right to Work debate, without torpedoing their economic argument.”

(Source: September 2017 National Right to Work Newsletter)