Major Milestone For Right to Work Movement

Majority of Employees Now Work in States Banning Forced Dues

In early March, the U.S. Labor Department issued new and revised data regarding civilian household employment (a broad measure that includes the self-employed and independent contractors as well as employees on employer payrolls) in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The data show that an important landmark has been passed in freedom-loving citizens’ decades-long fight against laws and legislation that authorize the termination of independent-minded  employees for refusal to join or bankroll an unwanted union.

Right to Work States Have Recovered Far More Rapidly From COVID-19 Recession 

For the first time since the passage of the pro-forced unionism National Labor Relations Act more than 85 years ago, in 2020 a majority of American employees earned their pay in states that have adopted Right to Work laws barring forced union dues and fees as a condition of employment.

National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen commented:

“For decades, Right to Work states have greatly outpaced forced-unionism states in employment growth.

“Nevertheless, in 2019 as a whole, according to the Labor Department’s Household Survey, there were roughly 664,000 more people employed in the 23 remaining forced-dues states than in the 27 Right to Work states.

“Since then, the tables have turned. In 2020, an average of 74.14 million people were employed in Right to Work states, compared to just 73.16 million in forced-unionism states. 

“Right to Work states’ current advantage in total employment is due in part to their generally far stronger recovery since the bottom of the steep COVID-19-related recession in April 2020.

“Overall employment in Right to Work states is now far closer to getting back to its pre-COVID-19 level than is the case in forced-unionism states.”

As recently as 2010, 40% of America’s employed population resided in Right to Work states, then 22 in number.

Six of Top Seven States For 2010-2020 Employment Growth Are Right to Work

Over the past decade, Right to Work percentage employment growth has been 4.6 times as great as in forced-dues states collectively. In absolute terms, the Right to Work employment growth advantage was 4.35 million.

Over the course of the next decade, grassroots activists, assisted by the National Right to Work Committee, increased by five the number of states that ban forced dues and fees as a job condition.

That’s one key long-term reason Right to Work passed the majority milestone last year.

A second is far superior long-term job growth in Right to Work states.

“From 2010 to 2020,” noted Mr. Leen, “the total number of people employed in the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books for the entire decade grew by 11.0%, or just over six million.

“Over the same decade, employment in the 23 states that still lack Right to Work protections today grew by 2.4%, or just under 1.7 million.

“The six bottom-ranking states, all suffering employment losses of greater than 2%, are all non-Right to Work. But six of the seven top-ranking states for employment growth over the past decade are Right to Work.”  

In addition to being correlated with faster job growth, Right to Work is correlated with higher real, after-tax incomes.

U.S. Census Bureau data, adjusted for interstate cost-of-living differences according to an index calculated by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, a state government agency, show that the average after-tax household income in Right to Work states in 2019 was $64,572.

That’s roughly $4,300 higher than the forced-dues state average, according to the same analysis, which also uses the nonpartisan, Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation as a source.

Committee Members Won’t Be Satisfied Until Every Employee Is Protected From Forced Dues

“The economic benefits of Right to Work and the injustice of forced union dues are so obvious that, as encouraging as all of Right to Work’s recent progress is, one has to wonder how it is that nearly half of the private employees in the U.S. are still vulnerable to being corralled into a union,” said Mr. Leen.

“The fact is, Committee members won’t be satisfied until every American employee is protected from forced union dues.

“That’s why, this spring, Committee members and supporters across the U.S. are doggedly mobilizing support for H.R.1275/S.406, the National Right to Work Act. 

“This simple legislation would bar forced union dues nationwide.”

Over the course of the next decade, grassroots activists, assisted by the National Right to Work Committee, increased by five the number of states that ban forced dues and fees as a job condition.

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