Pro-Forced Dues Federal Policy Harms Employees, Firms Nationwide
(Source: February 2015 National Right To Work Committee Newsletter)
Last month, U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and 76 original cosponsors introduced legislation on Capitol Hill that would restore an important personal freedom for millions of American employees.
Rep. King’s H.R.612, also known as the National Right to Work Act, would not add a single word to federal law. Instead, it would simply repeal the current provisions that authorize compulsory union dues and fee payments as a condition of employment.
And soon after this Newsletter edition goes to press, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will introduce companion legislation for H.R.612 in Congress’ upper chamber.
“When the King-Paul measure becomes law, 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,” explained Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee.
“No employees covered by federal labor statutes will face job loss as a consequence of their decision to refuse to join or bankroll a union.
“H.R.612 accomplishes this important policy change by removing all the forced union dues-imposing provisions now included in the National Labor Relations Act [NLRA] and the Railway Labor Act [RLA].”
Latest Census Data Show Americans Continue to Flock To Right to Work States
Compulsory unionism is primarily a moral issue. At the same time, of all the economic reforms Congress may consider this year and in 2016, H.R.612 would likely have the strongest positive impact for incomes and jobs.
To illustrate the point, Mr. Mix cited recently-released U.S. Census Bureau (BOC) data concerning the net domestic migration of residents of the 50 states from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014.
“According to the BOC,” noted Mr. Mix, “over the course of this 51-month period, a net total of nearly 1.6 million people moved into states where the Right to Work was protected for the entire time in question from somewhere else in the U.S.
“The positive correlation between Right to Work and domestic migration is quite robust.
“Of the seven states with the greatest absolute net in-migration since April 2010, six have longstanding Right to Work laws. Meanwhile, 12 of the 13 states with the greatest absolute net out-migration are forced-unionism.”
(Since Indiana and Michigan adopted their Right to Work laws only recently, they are excluded from the analysis. See the table on this page for more information.)
Families With Children Flee Forced Unionism
BOC statistics also show that a disproportionately large share of the net migration into Right to Work states as a group consists of working families with children aged 17 and under.
“From 2003 to 2013,” noted Mr. Mix, “the aggregate ‘17 and under’ population of the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books for the whole decade grew by 7.1%. Meanwhile, the youth population of the 26 states that are still forced-unionism today fell by 3.0%.
“From July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2014, BOC data released at the end of last year show, the number of children in the 24 Right to Work states increased by 116,000, even as it fell by 121,000 in the 26 forced-unionism states.
“The most reasonable conclusion to draw from the data is that, on the whole, breadwinners and their spouses find that they can’t provide as well for their families in forced-unionism states as they can in Right to Work states, once regional cost-of-living differences are considered.
“This is where the data have been pointing for decades, and the trend is unlikely to change at any time in the foreseeable future.”
Attempts by Forced-Unionism Apologists to Explain Away Data Fall Dismally Short
Dyed-in-the-wool Big Labor apologists such as University of Oregon “labor studies” professor Gordon Lafer sometimes try to dismiss the secular influx of Americans into Right to Work states by suggesting it consists mostly of elderly people seeking places with good weather rather than job opportunities.
In a May 2011 op-ed for Politico he penned on behalf of the forced dues-funded Economic Policy Institute, for example, Dr. Lafer suggested the lure of “warm weather” and “sunny beaches” for “retirees” was behind the net migration of nearly five million Americans into Right to Work states from 2000 to 2009.
Unfortunately for Dr. Lafer and his ilk, this convenient theory is not borne out by the data. As we have already seen, BOC statistics show an outsized share of the net migration into Right to Work states as a group consists of working families with children.
Compulsory Union Dues And Fees Bankroll Growth-Hindering Politicians
And it’s not just employees and employers in states that lack Right to Work laws who are harmed by federally-imposed compulsory unionism.
“Union bosses funnel a huge portion of the forced dues and fees they collect with federal policy’s abetment into politics,” Mr. Mix pointed out.
“Ideological proponents of heavier taxation and ever-more stringent regulation of business are well aware of this fact, and that’s why they typically favor forced union dues in practice, even if they don’t really support them in principle.
“For example, in a June 2014 commentary, Vox Executive Editor Matthew Yglesias made it clear he regards the fact that union bosses routinely ‘intervene in politics’ on behalf of causes he regards as ‘progressive’ as a point in favor of giving them coercive special privileges over the individual employee.
“The union-label politicians who routinely get elected and reelected because of their forced-dues-funded support overwhelmingly favor higher taxes and more red-tape regulation of businesses. This is true at the federal, state and local levels.”
Forced-Dues Repeal Would Remove a Massive Impediment To Economic Growth
The actions of forced-dues-funded politicians result in less economic growth nationwide.
But if Congress repealed all the forced-dues provisions in the NLRA and the RLA, this massive impediment to national economic growth would be lifted.
“Forced-dues repeal would spur job growth in all 50 states,” predicted Mr. Mix.
“Businesses based in current Right to Work states would share in the benefits as their major out-of-state suppliers and customers were freed from the burdens of compulsory unionism.”