Right to Work’s 6:1 Edge in Factory Job Growth

John Boyd
Site-selection expert John Boyd: “Right to Work has always been a recruiting tool for companies.” (Credit: Space Coast Daily)

During Biden Years, Forced-Dues States Falling Further Behind

In early 2020, American manufacturing employment plummeted. Factories were shuttered across the U.S. and the entire world as part of an extraordinary political effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 11% job decline from February to April that year was one of the most sudden and dramatic setbacks for domestic factory employees ever.

In 2021 and 2022, Right to Work States’ Factory Employment Rose by 428,000

But to the surprise of many observers, manufacturing jobs began returning for American workers in mid-2020, and the employment recovery continued throughout 2021 and 2022.

The 27 states with Right to Work laws on the books prohibiting the termination of employees for refusal to pay dues or fees to an unwanted union deserve the lion’s share of the credit.

In 2021 and 2022 combined, according to data compiled by the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), manufacturing employment in Right to Work states rose by nearly 428,000.

In absolute terms, that’s a 78% greater increase than the relatively paltry combined gain for the 23 states where firing employees for refusal to pay union dues or fees was still permitted.

Viewed over longer periods, the economic contrast between Right to Work and compulsory-unionism states is even more stark.

For example, from 2012-22, the 22 states that had Right to Work protections for the entire period saw a total BLS-reported increase of 11.9% in manufacturing employment. That represents a gain of nearly 600,000 jobs.

Over the same period, the five states that switched to Right to Work between 2012 and 2017 — Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Kentucky – saw their factory payrolls grow by 9.7%, or 122,000. Pre-Right to Work, none of these states was regarded as an economic powerhouse.

(Unfortunately, Big Labor politicians in Lansing colluded to repeal Michigan’s job-attracting Right to Work law this March.)

Meanwhile, factory employment in forced-dues states grew by just 2.1% overall, or barely more than one-sixth as much as in Right to Work states.

National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen commented:

“Site-selection experts whose career success depends on giving businesses good advice about where to make job-creating investments have confirmed over and over again that Right to Work states are superior locations for new factories and expansions alike.

“In a recent interview, for example, Boyd Co. owner John Boyd commented again on how banning forced union dues makes states ‘attractive’: ‘Right to Work has always been a recruiting tool for companies.’

“Even when it comes to industry sectors in which President Joe Biden has sought avidly to tilt the competitive playing field in Big Labor’s favor, like electric vehicles, batteries and semiconductors, Right to Work is a ‘driver’ of investment, according to top reshoring researcher Peter Van den Bossche.”

Committee Members Won’t Be Satisfied Until Right to Work Is Protected Nationwide

Mr. Leen added that it’s no mystery why Right to Work protections are an often decisive factor in business decisions that affect a state’s future employment and overall economic growth:

“Without Right to Work protections, workers are more likely to be forced into one-size-fits-all union contracts that foster work stoppages, wasteful work rules, job featherbedding, and a union-label ‘hate the boss’ mentality.

“With Right to Work’s job-creation advantage as evident as it is, it’s outrageous that roughly half the private-sector employees in the U.S. remain vulnerable to being forced to support a union financially today.

“National Right to Work members and supporters won’t be satisfied until Right to Work is protected nationwide.

“That’s why Committee members and leaders are tenaciously fighting to build congressional support for, and ultimately pass into law, H.R.1200/S.532, legislation better known as the National Right to Work Act.

“By repealing every provision in federal labor law that currently authorizes and promotes forced union payments as a job condition, H.R.1200/S.532 would ensure that no business employee anywhere in America has to choose between being fired and bankrolling a union he or she doesn’t want.”

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