Right to Work Attracts Good Jobs From Overseas

Nearly 70% of ‘Imported’ Jobs Go to States Barring Forced Dues

Harry Moser
Harry Moser: The 27 Right to Work states “were responsible for 69%” of 2010-2019 reshoring/FDI. (Credit: Reshoring Initiative)

Two important, but underreported successes of the U.S. economy in recent years are the “reshoring” of manufacturing jobs to our country by U.S. companies and non-U.S. companies’ transferal of such jobs to the U.S. through foreign direct investment (FDI).

Since 2010, U.S. and foreign companies combined have transferred more than 700,000 manufacturing jobs to our shores, according to the non-partisan Reshoring Initiative.

A U.S. gain of remotely near that magnitude would clearly have been impossible without state Right to Work laws that now protect well over half of our manufacturing employees from being fired for refusal to join or bankroll a union.

According to Harry Moser, former North American president of GF AgieCharmilles and founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, the “27 states that [now] have Right to Work laws were responsible for 69%” of U.S. reshoring and FDI from 2010 to 2019. 

Eight Top-Ranking States For Importing Jobs Are All Currently Right to Work   

A National Institute for Labor Relations Research analysis of Reshoring Initiative data shows that there were more than three times as many reshoring and FDI manufacturing jobs per capita announced in the 22 states that had Right to Work laws for the whole period as in the 23 states that still lack such laws.

National Right to Work Committee Vice President Greg Mourad commented:

“Among the eight states with the most imported manufacturing jobs per capita from 2010 to 2019, not one continues to allow the extraction of forced union dues and fees as a job condition.

“Six of the top eight — Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Tennessee — have long-standing Right to Work laws. 

“The other two — Kentucky and Michigan — are among the five states that overcame entrenched Big Labor opposition and adopted Right to Work laws over the past nine years.”   

Factory Employees in Right to Work States Enjoy a Higher Standard of Living

While the COVID-19 pandemic and politicians’ ham-fisted efforts to combat its spread shuttered many American factories early last year, reshoring actually accelerated over 2020 as a whole, and both reshoring and FDI have the potential to create and sustain millions of additional good jobs in the future.

On average, manufacturing jobs in Right to Work states pay better than their counterparts in forced-unionism states, when regional differences in the cost of living are taken into account.

U.S. Commerce Department data, adjusted for cost-of-living differences according to an index calculated by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, a state government agency, show that in 2019 the average annual compensation per Right to Work state manufacturing employee was $83,107.

That’s roughly $4,000 higher than the average for states that lack Right to Work protections.

“As the Reshoring Initiative has noted, American companies that opt to bring jobs to the U.S. from lower-wage countries regularly increase automation so they can be just as or even more profitable with higher domestic hourly labor costs,” said Mr. Mourad.

“Typically union-free employees in Right to Work states simply have superior records when it comes to adapting to new technologies. Forced-unionism states are losing jobs to Right to Work states for this and other reasons that have nothing to do with how much compensation workers receive in pay and benefits.”  

Biden Forced-Unionism Agenda Would Slash America’s Manufacturing Employment

On the presidential campaign trail last year, Democrat Joe Biden promised to return U.S. manufacturing employment to where it stood prior to the recessions of 2001 and 2007-9.

As ambitious as this goal seems, it could potentially be achieved, according to Mr. Moser, with the right policies.

But manufacturing employment will inevitably plummet if President Biden succeeds in implementing his scheme to hand vast new coercive powers to Big Labor by wiping out all 27 state Right to Work laws, said Mr. Mourad:

“As Harry Moser has warned, adoption into law of the Biden-backed, anti-Right to Work Pushbutton-Unionism Bill [S.420/ H.R.842] would mean ‘fewer’ U.S. manufacturing jobs.”