Slow-Growth Northeast Needs the Right to Work


Grassroots Lobbying Intensifies in New England, Keystone State

All across America, Right to Work states have long benefited from economic growth far superior to that of states in which millions of employees are forced to pay dues or fees to a labor union just to keep their jobs.

One key index that illustrates Right to Work states’ wide economic advantage is civilian household employment as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). This is a broad jobs measure that includes the self-employed and contractors as well as workers on employer payrolls.

The 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books for the entire period from 2006 to 2016 enjoyed overall household employment growth of 8.1% during that decade.

Meanwhile, aggregate employment growth in the 24 states that still lacked Right to Work protections for employees as of the end of last year was less than half the Right to Work average.

Not surprisingly, total 2006-16 employment growth in the nine states of the Northeast — the only one of the four U.S. Census Bureau regions of the country without any Right to Work states — was slower than in any other region.

But today National Right to Work Committee leaders are confident Big Labor’s domination of the Northeast will not last much longer.

More and More Citizens Back Fundamental Reform to Reinvigorate Their States

“More and more citizens of Big Labor-controlled Northeastern states like New Hampshire, Maine and Pennsylvania recognize that their states require fundamental reform in order to get their economies back on track,” observed National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.

“The fact is, compulsory unionism impedes job creation and income growth in every part of the business cycle. Even more healthy national economic growth is unlikely to turn things around for the union boss dominated Northeast.

“On the other hand, there is strong evidence that economically troubled states could greatly accelerate their job and income growth by passing Right to Work legislation.”

Mr. Mix cited the case of Indiana, whose Right to Work statute was adopted and immediately took effect in February 2012.  That month, Indiana had 470,800 manufacturing jobs, according to seasonally unadjusted USDOL data.

By May 2017, the most recent month for which statistics are available at this writing, Indiana’s total manufacturing payroll employment had increased by 11.7% to 526,000.

Indiana’s percentage increase in factory jobs since it became Right to Work is well over double the nationwide gain of 5.3% over the same period.

Meanwhile, manufacturing employment has actually fallen by 0.7% in

Illinois, Indiana’s compulsory-unionism neighbor to the west. Ohio, Indiana’s forced-unionism neighbor to the east, has had a percentage gain only about one-half as great as Indiana’s.

Throughout his six-and-a-half years as Maine’s chief executive, Gov. Paul LePage has carried on a persistent and principled fight against forced unionism. Meanwhile, Right to Work has gain strength in the Maine Legislature. credit: Office of Gov. Paul LePage

Among Northeastern States, New Hampshire Now Closest To Right to Work Passage

Despite all the evidence of Right to Work laws’ economic benefits, of which Indiana’s recent manufacturing rebound is but one example, and despite the fact that nearly 80% of Americans who regularly vote support Right to Work as a matter of principle, passing a law banning forced union dues is never easy.

Unions that file federal disclosure forms rake in a total of roughly $21.7 billion a year in (mostly forced) dues and fees, government grants, rents, interest, and other revenues. And union bosses deploy a huge share of the money for politics and lobbying.

“If freedom-loving citizens are to counter successfully the might of the union political machine and prevail upon their elected officials to adopt a state Right to Work law, they must first be mobilized,” said Mr. Mix.

Among the nine states of the Northeast, New Hampshire is now the closest to being able to overcome entrenched Big Labor resistance and pass a Right to Work law.

‘Setback’ Means State’s Economic Malaise Will Continue For Awhile

In the Granite State, the Manchester, N.H.-based group New England Citizens for Right to Work has for years, with the National Committee’s assistance, been recruiting freedom-loving citizens to contact their legislative and executive candidates with thousands of postcards, letters and phone calls.

Of course, all these communications urge the politicians to oppose forced unionism.

This January, Right to Work advocates’ efforts bore fruit when a majority of state senators defied Big Labor bosses by approving S.B.11, a measure upholding the employee’s individual right to get and hold a job without being forced to join or bankroll a union.

Since Gov. Chris Sununu had successfully campaigned on the Right to Work issue in 2016, union officials’ only remaining chance to stop Right to Work was the state House of Representatives.

Unfortunately, on February 16, largely because Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) failed to deliver his then-222-member caucus for ending compulsory unionism, S.B.11 narrowly failed in the House.

“The February 16 defeat of S.B.11 on the House floor was undoubtedly a setback for the Granite State,” said Mr. Mix.

“Due to this setback, New Hampshire’s economic malaise — reflected in the 15.2% decline in the number of its residents, aged 35-54, between 2005 and 2015 — seems destined to continue for a while.

“But I remain confident New Hampshire citizens will in the near future enjoy the freedom and prosperity that come with a Right to Work law.”

New Hampshire Far From the Only Northeastern State Where Progress Is Occurring

Mr. Mix continued: “Grass-roots activists will be back with even more energy next year to put Right to Work over the top in New Hampshire.”

Neighboring Maine is another state where the Right to Work movement has made encouraging gains.

In mid-June, staunchly pro-Right to Work Pine Tree State Rep. Larry Lockman (Amherst) secured a floor vote in his chamber on L.D.65, his bill banning forced union dues and fees. (The month before, National Committee Vice President Greg Mourad had testified in support of L.D.65 in Augusta.)

Union-label politicians prevailed in a vote to kill L.D.65.  But supporters gained 12 votes over what they had achieved in a Right to Work roll call in the 2016 session, leaving them with just another nine votes to switch over in order to pass a forced-unionism ban in the 151-member chamber.

“Thanks largely to the determined advocacy of two-term Gov. Paul LePage, I am optimistic Right to Work can secure sufficient legislative support to be adopted in Maine within the next few years,” said Mr. Mix.

“Yet another Northeastern state where Big Labor’s stranglehold is loosening is Pennsylvania.

“For years, persistent foes of forced unionism in the Keystone State have been pressing their elected representatives in Harrisburg to pledge support for a state Right to Work law.

“Thanks to their efforts, there are now record numbers of avowed Right to Work supporters in both chambers of the General Assembly.

“The next step is to put every state senator and representative on record regarding forced unionism through recorded roll-call floor votes.”

(Source: August 2017 National Right to Work Newsletter)