Right to Work Debated in State Capitals



But National Forced-Dues Repeal Measure Still Being Held Back

(Source: September 2011 NRTWC Newsletter)

Not long ago, Big Labor was crowing about having thwarted citizen efforts to pass new Right to Work laws in Indiana and New Hampshire this year. But it’s now clear that the boasts of the union bosses were premature.

Legislative support for abolishing compulsory union membership, dues and fees has been and remains strong in both the Hoosier and Granite States. Union lobbyists have therefore had to rely heavily on Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) and union-label Gov. John Lynch (D-N.H.) to prevent enactment of America’s 23rd and 24th state Right to Work laws.

But now Mr. Daniels, under increasing heat from thousands and thousands of freedom-loving Hoosiers, including many who have supported him in the past, is signaling that he may reconsider his opposition to legislative votes on Right to Work measures in Indianapolis next year.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lynch’s late-spring veto of H.B.474, which would prohibit the firing of New Hampshire employees for refusal to pay dues or fees to an unwanted union, may now potentially be overridden because of a sustained Right to Work lobbying campaign.

States Can’t Afford to Ignore Fact That Compulsory Unionism Hinders Economic Growth

“In the two years since the severe 2008-9 national recession officially ended, most state economies have recovered only feebly, if at all,” commented National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.

“That’s why many Indianans and New Hampshirites, along with the citizens of a number of other states that have yet to enact Right to Work laws, are now emphatically telling their elected officials that they can’t afford to ignore the fact that compulsory unionism hinders economic growth.

“Trends in employee compensation, that is, wages, salaries, bonuses and benefits, illustrate well the Right to Work growth advantage.

“From 2000 to 2010, the inflation-adjusted outlays of private-sector businesses for employee compensation increased by an average of 11.8% in Right to Work states. That increase is nine times as great as forced-unionism states’ combined 1.3% rise over the same period.

“Twenty of the 22 Right to Work states experienced a real compensation increase greater than the national average of 4.9%. And 14 of the 15 states with the lowest real compensation growth lack a Right to Work law.”

Mr. Mix added that faster growth constitutes only a part of Right to Work states’ edge.

Adjusting for regional differences in living costs with the help of indices created by the non-partisan Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), in 2010 the average compensation per private-sector employee in Right to Work states was $56,830. That’s roughly $1100 more than the average for forced-unionism states.

Cost of Living-Adjusted Compensation Higher In Right to Work States

Indiana’s cost of living-adjusted compensation per private-sector employee was roughly $2000 below the Right to Work state average; New Hampshire’s was more than $8000 below the Right to Work state average.

“No wonder pro-Right to Work employees and business owners and other concerned citizens in Indiana, New Hampshire, and other states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Montana, Kentucky, Missouri and Maine are pushing harder than ever before for enactment of laws banning forced union dues and fees,” commented Mr. Mix.

“In response to the mounting public pressure, legislative hearings on proposed Right to Work laws took place this summer in the Indiana and Pennsylvania capitals, and hearings in Michigan’s capital are now expected this fall.

“Even more important, if Gov. Mitch Daniels changes course late this year and stops standing in the way of legislative action on Right to Work, as he is now publicly indicating he may do, the Hoosier State may well outlaw forced union dues in 2012.

“Furthermore, a number of the handful of Big Labor-appeasing GOP representatives in New Hampshire who have so far sided with union-label Democrats in supporting Gov. Lynch’s veto of H.B.474 may ultimately opt to heed the pro-Right to Work constituents who keep contacting them when the override vote occurs this fall.

“If enough switch over, that will make New Hampshire the first Right to Work state in the Northeast.”

Right to Work Hearing in Michigan, But Not in GOP-Controlled U.S. House?

In view of the Right to Work advances now being made in historic Big Labor-stronghold states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, Mr. Mix noted, it is disappointing that federal forced-dues repeal legislation is still being held back in the U.S. Congress.

“That Big Labor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-Nev.] refuses to allow hearings or a vote on S.504, the Senate version of the National Right to Work Act, is unfortunate, but not surprising,” Mr. Mix acknowledged.

“But why is House Speaker John Boehner [R-Ohio], who just last year made a campaign vow to support holding hearings and recorded votes on national Right to Work legislation, now keeping H.R.2040, the House forced-dues repeal measure, bottled up in committee?

“The federal labor law provisions that authorize and promote compulsory union dues and fees represent a gross violation of the individual employee’s freedom of choice. They are also an economic albatross as our nation struggles to recover from the worst recession in decades.

“Americans deserve to know which of their politicians, federal as well as state, support the unjust, economically unviable forced-unionism system. It’s long past time for John Boehner to let H.R.2040 receive full House consideration.”