In addition to revoking Big Labor bosses’ privilege to get millions of employees fired should they refuse to join or bankroll a union, the passage and implementation of five new Right to Work laws over the past seven years has provided scholars with a new opportunity to research such laws’ impact.
One up-and-coming specialist in labor economics and finance who has taken advantage of this opportunity is Christos Makridis, who recently received a Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Study Assesses Impact of Right to Work on Individual Well-Being
In 2017, Dr. Makridis, who is now a digital fellow at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a nonresident fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, completed a study regarding the impact of Right to Work laws on the well-being of individuals, with a special focus on unionized employees.
In a paper reporting his findings, entitled “Do Right-to-Work Laws Work? Evidence From Individual Well-Being and Economic Sentiment,” he concludes that the adoption of Right to Work laws is “associated with increases in both life satisfaction and economic sentiment.”
Dr. Makridis’s paper, which is available through the Social Science Research Network, draws on Gallup’s U.S. Daily Poll to “compare individual well-being and economic sentiment before and after the adoption” of state Right to Work laws.
In a short video talk he put together with the assistance of the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, Dr. Makridis explains why, in his view, unionized employees generally feel more optimistic about their careers in a Right to Work environment.
(National Right to Work Newsletter readers who wish to view this video may do so by visiting www.nilrr.org — the Institute’s web site.)
‘Is That Really the Tip I’d Like to Pay Given the Service Quality That I Had?’
In his video presentation, Dr. Makridis asks each viewer to imagine moving to a new city where “you’re required to eat at a single restaurant.”
After you’re seated, the waiter “doesn’t really take your order, but he comes back with the food about 10 minutes later.”
Of course, the order is all wrong. And when you’ve finished eating and you get the bill, “there’s a mandatory 20% tip,” and you ask yourself, “‘Is that really the tip I’d like to pay given the service quality that I had?’”
Dr. Makridis posits that there’s a causal connection between the mandatory 20% tip and the low service quality.
If so, it intuitively follows that government-authorized mandatory union dues and fees would have a decidedly detrimental impact on the quality of services Big Labor furnishes for the workers it purports to represent.
Specifically, he found in his research that unionized employees in states that recently approved Right to Work laws reported “higher levels of trust and openness in the workplace” after compulsory unionism was prohibited than they had before.
This makes sense when one considers the impact of forced unionism and the Right to Work at the personal level.
Before Right to Work, “unions were forcing individuals” to pay dues or fees “regardless of the service quality they were providing, but afterward they were treating the individual employee more like a customer, thinking about what types of services might be valuable” to each individual.
‘It’s Just Giving People More Choice Over How They Spend Their Money’
What is the Right to Work? “[I]t’s just giving people more choice over how they spend their money,” concludes Dr. Makridis.
Consequently, it’s not surprising that his findings, as he reports in his paper, “suggest that the passage of” Right to Work laws “fundamentally transforms the optimism that union workers have about their career prospects.”
Dr. Makridis’ quantitative analysis also detected a positive, albeit significantly smaller, impact on the workplace satisfaction of union-free individuals.
People from all walks of life benefit from Right to Work laws, largely because they cut the funds union bosses who favor oppressively high taxes and straight-jacket regulation of business have at their disposal to advance their ideology.
However, in Dr. Makridis’ words, the “gains are concentrated among union workers, suggesting that those who have benefited most are precisely those whom the legislation targeted.”