Forced-Dues States Yet to Recover From COVID-19

But Right to Work Employment Up 1.36 Million Since February 2020

Thanks to the 27 states with Right to Work laws on the books barring the extraction of forced union dues from employees as a job condition, by late last year nationwide employment, as measured by the U.S. Labor Department, was slightly (0.5%) above where it had been prior to 2020’s COVID-19 lockdowns.

Labor Department Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data for November 2022, the most recent available as this Newsletter edition goes to press, show that employment in Right to Work states is now 1.36 million higher than in February 2020.

(This was the last month before politicians at all levels of government forced businesses to shut their doors with the aim of slowing the spread of the pandemic.)

But in the 23 forced-dues states combined, employment is still 1.30 million below where it was pre-COVID 19.

And it is currently moving in the wrong direction.

According to the latest BLS data, aggregate employment for states lacking Right to Work protections is now 115,000 lower than it was in June 2022. Meanwhile, the combined employment for Right to Work states is 196,000 higher than it was early last summer. 

Painfully Slow Job Growth Is a Chronic Problem in Forced-Dues States

National Right to Work Committee Vice President Greg Mourad commented:

“Part of the recent great divide between Right to Work and Big Labor-controlled states with regard to employment can be explained by special factors, including union boss-backed politicians’ unaccountable slowness in lifting COVID-19-related economic restrictions.

“But the main fact is that painfully slow job growth is a long-term problem in states where firing workers for refusal to bankroll a union to whose monopoly-bargaining power they are subject remains permissible. 

“Among the 22 states that had Right to Work laws in effect for the entire decade from 2011 to 2021, employment grew by an impressive 13.2%.

“Meanwhile, aggregate employment in the 23 states that still lack Right to Work statutes or constitutional amendments today grew by just 5.7%, or less than half the Right to Work average.”

Elected Officials Who Favor Expanded Job Opportunities Back Forced-Dues Repeal

“No wonder,” continued Mr. Mourad, “federal elected officials who are genuinely committed to expanding employment opportunities for all Americans support the National Right to Work Act, and encourage their colleagues to support it as well.

“This much-needed reform would ensure employees in all 50 states have the freedom to choose for themselves whether or not a union deserves their financial support.

“It would accomplish this objective without adding a single word to federal law, but rather by repealing all the current provisions in federal law that authorize compulsory dues and fees.”

Mr. Mourad predicted that, thanks to the success of Right to Work members mobilized by the Committee’s 2022 federal survey program in swaying candidates to pledge full support for forced-dues repeal, even more members of Congress may sign on to the National Right to Work Act than in the 2021-2022 Congress.

As the 118th Congress convenes, 187 current members have sponsored, cosponsored, or pledged to support the National Right to Work Act.

Within a few weeks after this Newsletter edition goes to press in early January, staunch Right to Work ally Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) is expected to introduce the federal forced-dues repeal measure in the 2023-24 House.

At roughly the same time, Right to Work champion Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is expected to introduce this bill in Congress’ upper chamber.

Forced Dues Pour Salt In Wounds of Workers Already Hurt by Big Labor

“As valuable as Right to Work has been proven to be in facilitating the creation of good jobs, this cause is fundamentally about fairness,” said Mr. Mourad.

“There is simply no credible justification for forcing employees to bankroll a union if they choose not to belong to it.

“As even pro-Big Labor coercion law professor Sheldon Leader has admitted, under so-called ‘exclusive’ union bargaining, workers who don’t want a union are ‘often actually made worse off than they were before.’

“The eminent late Pennsylvania law professor Clyde Summers strongly concurred, rejecting union-boss attempts to use monopoly bargaining as an excuse for forced union dues.”

Mr. Mourad concluded: “In 23 states where nearly 80 million employees live, union bosses continue to add insult to the injuries of the workers they hurt through monopoly bargaining by extracting forced fees from them as well. Right to Work supporters will never tolerate the perpetuation of this abuse.”

This article was originally published in our monthly newsletter. Go here to access previous newsletter posts.

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