‘Foot Voting’ Exposes Falsity of Big Labor Propagandists’ Claims
Union bosses often grossly understate, or altogether “forget” about, regional cost-of-living differences when they are debating living standards in Right to Work states vs. in forced-unionism states.
Downplaying or ignoring this key issue makes it easier to hide the economically disastrous effects of compulsory unionism.
But no matter how vociferously Big Labor tries to insist that corralling workers into monopolistic unions somehow makes them more prosperous, there is one unimpeachable fact that union spokesmen have extraordinary difficulty explaining away:
When they have a choice, working-age people prefer not to live in forced-unionism states.
Over Past Decade, Forced-Dues States’ Peak-Earning-Year Population Fell by 7.4%
Considered together, age-grouped state population data for 2019 released by the U.S. Census Bureau this June and comparable data for 2009 tell an important story.
They show that, over the past decade, the total population of people in their peak-earning years (aged 35-54) for the 23 states that have yet to adopt and implement a Right to Work law, barring the termination of employees for refusal to bankroll an unwanted union, fell from 44.20 million to 40.93 million.
That represents a decline of nearly 3.3 million, or 7.4%.
Nationwide, the peak-earning-year population fell by 4.4% from 2009 to 2019 as a consequence of aging Baby Boomers.
But in the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books the whole time, there was no overall net decline at all!
And the correlation between forced-unionism status and peak-earning-year population decline is quite robust.
Breadwinners Favor States Where They Can Provide Better For Their Families
Among the 45 states that were either Right to Work or forced-unionism for the whole period from 2009 to 2019, the 13 states experiencing the most severe peak-earning-year losses in percentage terms are all forced-unionism.
They are: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alaska, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Missouri, and New Mexico.
Meanwhile, the four top-ranking states (Texas, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona) are all Right to Work.
Had the decline in the 23 states that still don’t have Right to Work laws today been only as severe as the national average, they would have had roughly 1.3 million more residents in their peak-earning years as of 2019.
National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen commented:
“The obvious and correct explanation is that breadwinners, along with their families, are fleeing forced-unionism states in droves.
“Working men and women find again and again that they cannot provide as well for their families in such states as they can in Right to Work states, with their generally higher real incomes and lower living costs.”
Mr. Leen pointed to a 2019 analysis by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, which showed that the mean after-tax, cost of living-adjusted household income in 2018 was roughly $4,300 higher in Right to Work states than in forced-unionism states.
‘Foot Voters Have Strong Incentives’ to Acquire Information, ‘Use It Wisely’
Mr. Leen emphasized that the Institute’s findings should surprise no one who is familiar with the data revealing where America’s breadwinners prefer to work and live. He explained:
“It defies common sense to claim that people who get the vast majority of their income from their jobs would lopsidedly favor living in states where they are worse off over states where they are better off.
“Yet that’s effectively what Big Labor propagandists do claim, again and again.
“The fact is, as George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin explains in his just-published book Free to Move, ‘foot voters have strong incentives to acquire relevant information and use it wisely.’
“People choosing where to live know their decisions ‘have real consequences,’ and therefore they generally don’t act without first considering all the key facts.
“That’s why we should trust ‘foot voters’ to know what’s best for themselves and their families. And they are telling us, in overwhelming numbers and again and again, that they are better off in Right to Work states than in forced-unionism states.”