Half of Schoolchildren Now Live in Right to Work States

Because of the passage of new state Right to Work laws as well as the massive out-migration of families with school-aged children from compulsory-unionism states, teacher union czarina Randi Weingarten’s forced-dues empire is in jeopardy. Photo: Aaron Bernstein/Getty Images

Over the past half a century, the top bosses of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA) unions have poured hundreds of millions of dollars in forced dues and fees that public educators in Big Labor-controlled states like New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California fork over as a condition of employment to install anti-Right to Work candidates in federal office and keep them there.

But this year current AFT and NEA bosses Randi Weingarten and Lily Eskelsen Garcia must feel a special sense of urgency to make Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States.  They know their ability to seize dues money from teachers and other K-12 school employees and spend it as they please faces a serious challenge.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, as recently as 2005, barely more than a decade ago, roughly 61% of the K-12 school-aged children (5-17 years old) in America lived in a state without Right to Work protections for employees.

In 2016, the share of America’s school-aged population residing in forced-unionism states (now just 24 in number) has shrunk to roughly 50%.  This is largely because, since early 2012, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and West Virginia have adopted Right to Work laws.

But it is also because families with school-aged children have fled forced-unionism states in droves, undoubtedly in large part because job opportunities and cost of living-adjusted incomes in such states are significantly lower than they are in Right to Work states.

From 2005 to 2015, Census Bureau data show, the number of five-to-17 year-olds living in states that lacked Right to Work protections for the whole decade fell by 1.1 million, or 3.9%.  Meanwhile, the number of K-12 school-aged children living in the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books for the whole time grew by 1.9 million, or 9.3%.

Because a rapidly growing share of America’s schoolchildren live in Right to Work states, a rapidly shrinking share of America’s public schoolteachers live in states where they can be compelled to bankroll a union as a condition of employment.

Like other union bosses, Weingarten and Eskelsen Garcia are counting on a President Hillary Clinton and her judicial and bureaucratic appointees to wield the power of the federal government to block even more states from enacting Right to Work laws. Without heavy-handed assistance from Big Labor federal bureaucrats and judges, Weingarten and Eskelsen Garcia know the number of teachers who are forced to bankroll a union will continue to shrink.

They’ll do everything they can to perpetuate their control of the teaching profession in states like New York and California and regain their forced-dues privileges in states where they have been revoked.

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