Right to Work State Economies Grow Faster

Private-Sector Employees and Employers Alike Reap Major Benefits

(Source: July 2011 NRTWC Newsletter)

Today, American employees and employers across the country are working hard and using their ingenuity to help their businesses recover from the severe 2008-2009 recession.

Unfortunately, an array of laws and regulations imposed by the U.S. Congress and federal bureaucrats are hindering the efforts of workers, managers, and business owners.

And the federal policies that authorize the firing of roughly 6.3 million private-sector employees should they refuse to pay union dues or fees as a job condition are among the very worst, if not the worst, obstacles to economic recovery.

One indication of the damage wrought by the pro-forced unionism provisions in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Railway Labor Act (RLA) is the state-by-state gross domestic product (GDP) data reported by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

According to BEA data, from 2000 to 2010, the combined real output of the 22 states with Right to Work laws protecting employees from the forced-union-dues provisions in the NLRA grew by 21.8%.

That percentage gain is well over half again as large as the combined real 2000-2010 growth of the 28 states that still do not protect employees from forced union dues.

To put it another way, had the entire country grown by as much as current Right to Work states did over just this ten-year period, by 2010 our national GDP would have been $13.674 trillion in constant, “chained” 2005 dollars, roughly $575 billion above the actual figure.

Forced Dues Not Justified, Morally or Economically

National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen said that the BEA data, which were updated just last month, should embolden the 33 U.S. House and Senate sponsors of national Right to Work legislation in their respective chambers to push for action on these measures.

“The House and Senate Right to Work Bills [H.R.2040 and S.504] would abolish the federal labor-law provisions that force workers to pay dues to an unwanted union, or be fired,” noted Mr. Leen.

“To be genuine, the right to do something must be accompanied by a corresponding right to refrain. As long as the law of the land explicitly denies employees the right not to associate with or financially support a union, all Americans’ freedom will be threatened.

“Even most forced-unionism apologists recognize the strength of this moral argument. That’s why they typically try to change the subject to economics.

“But BEA and other government data keep undercutting this gambit.”

Mr. Leen added that Right to Work states’ growth advantage is even wider when it comes to private-sector employees’ wages and salaries than it is with regard to GDP:

“From 2000 to 2010, inflation-adjusted BEA statistics show wage and salary disbursements to employees by private businesses increased by 8.6% in Right to Work states.

“Meanwhile, real private-sector wage and salary disbursements in forced-unionism states fell by 1.8%.”

House Speaker Urged to Allow Roll-Call Floor Vote

Mr. Leen pointed out that, unlike the U.S. Senate, which has voted on federal forced-dues repeal a couple of times, most recently just two-and-a-half years ago, the U.S. House has never held a floor vote on national Right to Work legislation.

“A recorded vote on H.R.2040 would require every current House member to take a stand, either with the nearly 80% of Americans who support Right to Work, or with Big Labor,” he said.

“Even if union lobbyists muster sufficient votes to defeat H.R.2040, getting the whole chamber on the record for or against compulsory unionism will pave the way for federal force-dues repeal in a future Congress.

“I urge House Speaker John Boehner [R-Ohio] to allow a floor vote on H.R.2040 before the end of this year.”