‘Manufacturing Rebound’ in Indiana, Michigan

States Prohibit Forced Unionism, Get ‘More . . . Opportunities’

(source: National Right To Work December 2015 Newsletter)

According to the U.S. Labor Department, Indiana, which passed America’s 23rd Right to Work law in March 2012, and Michigan, which approved the 24th later the same year, respectively ranked #2 and #1 among the 50 states for manufacturing job growth last year.

And this year, the good economic news has continued in the Hoosier and Wolverine States.

‘Manufacturing Investments Have Rolled in to Indiana This Year’

As reporter Kris Turner documented in a late October news story for the Indianapolis Star, an impressive array of companies have announced plans just since the beginning of 2015 to expand and/or modernize factories as well as build new ones in Indiana:

Indiana-and-Michigan“The manufacturing investments have rolled in to Indiana this year: $600 million at Rolls-Royce, $140 million at Suburu and $1.2 billion at General Motors, to name a few.

“Almost $2 billion has been invested to overhaul production facilities or expand corporate footprints — a trend that experts say puts Indiana at the forefront of states with manufacturing-heavy economies.”

Asked by Mr. Turner to assess the news, Barry Bosworth, an economist with the Brookings Institution, a venerable D.C. think tank, responded, “It’s not the norm. . . . It sounds like Indiana is doing well.”

Since Its Right to Work Law Took Effect, Indiana Has Added 48,000 Factory Jobs

The remarkable manufacturing-sector success that Indiana and Michigan have enjoyed since becoming Right to Work states makes perfect sense to site-selection experts like Richard H. Thompson, who heads the Global Supply Chain & Logistics Team for JLL.

As Mr. Thompson recently told a reporter for the trade journal Area Development: “From a manufacturing perspective; [Right to Work] is the first lens in the decision. They don’t want to be in a [forced-]union environment, and that’s why most auto manufacturers have gone to the Southeast.”

Mark Sweeney, senior principal with McCallum Sweeney Consulting, concurred: “The state of Indiana and the state of Michigan can already point to increased activity in the manufacturing sector. . . . If you’re a right-to-work state, you get more manufacturing opportunities than if you’re not.”

“Overall, according to the U.S. Labor Department, from March 2012 through October 2015 (the most recent month for which such data are available), Indiana enjoyed a net manufacturing job gain of 10.1%, representing roughly 48,000 manufacturing jobs,” said National Right to Work Committee Vice President Greg Mourad.

Laws’ Primary Objective: Protection of Individual Employee’s Freedom Choice

“In absolute terms,” Mr. Mourad continued, “that’s the second highest increase in the nation. Meanwhile, in forced-unionism states over the same period, manufacturing employment grew by just 1.4%.”

The Wolverine State’s rebound since its Right to Work law took effect has been even more impressive.

“From March 2013 through October 2015, Michigan enjoyed a net gain of 9.2%, or 51,000 in factory jobs.  Since it banned forced union dues and fees, Michigan’s increase in manufacturing payroll employment has been the highest in the nation, both in percentage and in absolute terms,” noted Mr. Mourad.

“Of course, Right to Work isn’t primarily an economic issue.

“The most important reason to pass Right to Work laws is to protect the individual employee’s freedom of choice with regard to union membership or nonmembership.

“But the fact that a vast amount of nonpartisan statistical evidence indicates that Right to Work laws are economically beneficial is another important consideration in their favor.”

Mr. Mourad vowed that the National Committee and its members would do everything possible to assist grass-roots efforts to abolish compulsory unionism in the 25 states that continue to lack Right to Work protections today.