Right to Work Key For Advanced Manufacturing

‘Common Denominator Among States Attracting . . . Aerospace’ Jobs

Unlike many politicians and academics who make public claims about the economic impact of Right to Work laws, John Boyd must make correct analyses to succeed professionally.


He is the founder of the Boyd Company, a Princeton, N.J.-based consulting company that attracts and retains clients by giving them sound advice about where to make job-creating investments.

And Mr. Boyd has no doubt about where the “center of gravity” in the U.S. today is when it comes to “advanced manufacturing jobs.”

As he explained to John Henry Smith of Connecticut Public Radio in an interview last November, Right to Work is a “common denominator among states attracting both aerospace and other types of advanced manufacturing.”

Airbus in Alabama, Gulfstream In Georgia, Lockheed Martin, Boeing in South Carolina

Mr. Boyd’s comments came in response to a question about the then just-announced decision by Raytheon — the parent company of East Hartford, Conn.-based Pratt & Whitney — to build a new plant in Right to Work North Carolina, rather than in forced-unionism Connecticut. 

The Raytheon move is just one of a host of examples of how Right to Work states are outcompeting Big Labor-ruled states like Connecticut for high-paying jobs, emphasized Mr. Boyd.

“It’s Airbus in [Right to Work] Alabama, Gulfstream in [Right to Work] Georgia, and Lockheed Martin and Boeing in [Right to Work] South Carolina.”

National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen commented:

“The fact is, U.S. manufacturing employment was increasing for years and years prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the draconian political responses to it last year.

“Moreover, after a brief, albeit steep, COVID-19-related decline, factory jobs now appear to be on the rise again. But job growth in the manufacturing sector hasn’t been and isn’t today spread out evenly across the country. 

“For many years, it has been concentrated in states where laws prohibiting the forced payment of dues or fees to a labor union have been adopted and taken effect.

“As of today, 27 states have laws on the books that protect employees from being forced to bankroll a union, on pain of termination.

“From 2009 to 2019, manufacturing payroll employment expanded by 10.0% in the 22 states that had Right to Work laws in effect for the entire decade.

“That’s more than triple the aggregate 2.9% gain for the 23 states that were still forced-unionism at the end of the decade.”

By 2019, 53% of America’s manufacturing jobs were located in Right to Work states.

On average, these jobs paid better than their counterparts in compulsory-unionism states, when regional differences in the cost of living are taken into account.

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

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.

“Forced-unionism states are losing good jobs to Right to Work states for reasons that have nothing to do with how much compensation employees receive in pay and benefits,” noted Mr. Leen.

“Boeing’s decision last fall to end all production of its 787 Dreamliner in forced-unionism Washington State, and consolidate production of the popular wide-body jet in its 11-year-old South Carolina facility, is one recent example.”

Boeing: Assembling Planes in Right to Work South Carolina Makes Us ‘More Efficient’

In a memo to employees last October 1, Boeing executive Stan Deal explained the decision: “[W]e look at every opportunity to adapt, preserve our liquidity and be more competitive in a very different commercial market.” 

The company ultimately concluded that “the move will make producing the Dreamliner more efficient and help it better target factory improvements,” according to the Wall Street Journal’s news account that afternoon.

“To be successful,” concluded Mr. Leen, “today’s factories require employees who are willing and able to develop their skills and show individual initiative.

“That why a forced-unionism regime under which employees are required to submit to Big Labor in order to keep their jobs is simply incompatible with modern manufacturing.”