Right to Work: Rx For Job-Losing States

Right to Work: Rx For Job-Losing States

(Source: December 2010 NRTWC Newsletter) In every region of the country where both Right to Work states and forced-unionism states are located, the Right to Work states' long-term economic growth is superior. The Midwestern contrast is especially strong. Legislators Look at 'Oklahoma Model' For Stronger Economic Growth It's been more than seven decades since The Grapes of Wrath, both the John Steinbeck novel and the Hollywood movie it inspired, established the desperate migration of "Okies" from the Dust Bowl to the orchards of California as an icon of the Great Depression. Times have certainly changed. As an October 12 USA Today feature story noted, since 1999, "the number of Californians departing the Golden State for Oklahoma has outnumbered those going the opposite direction by more than 21,000 . . . ." The net influx of people into the Sooner State from California and many other states with sub-par or abysmal job and income growth records is, as USA Today put it, "a sign of Oklahoma's growing economic prowess." To explain the state's recent record of economic success, the USA Today feature specifically mentioned Oklahoma's low and relatively stable housing costs, its concentration of aerospace and defense technology expertise, and its oil and natural gas reserves. But as important as these assets are, Oklahoma had them all in the early 1990's, when its long-term job and income growth still trailed the national average. The real turning point for Oklahoma's transition from an economic laggard to an economic leader was in 1992 -- when the National Right to Work Committee teamed up with local grass-roots activists to map out a multi-year campaign to pass a Sooner Right to Work law. Benefits of Right to Work Campaign Were Evident Long Before State Law Was Passed "In the early 1990's, the 'Dust Bowl' was already a distant memory, but Oklahoma's job climate still seemed pretty dry," commented Matthew Leen, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee. Domestic population migration data reflect Oklahoma's "growing economic prowess." The 1994-2001 Sooner State campaign to pass a Right to Work law, as well as the law itself, helped build that prowess. "From 1984 through 1994, the decade before the Committee program to pass a Right to Work law in Oklahoma was initiated, private-sector employment in Oklahoma increased by less than a third as much as the national average, according to the U.S. Labor Department. "Over that same decade, inflation-adjusted U.S. Commerce Department data show Oklahoma's real personal income grew by just 2.3%, less than a tenth of the nationwide percentage gain. "But in 1994, the seeds of change were

Iowans Repudiate Pro-Forced Unionism Governor

Iowans Repudiate Pro-Forced Unionism Governor

Right to Work Makes Major Gains in State Legislative Contests (Source: December 2010 NRTWC Newsletter) It takes a lot to convince Iowa citizens to oust a sitting governor. Until this fall, the last time a Hawkeye State chief executive failed to get another term after seeking one was in 1962! But over the past four years, Big Labor Democrat Gov. Chet Culver wore out Iowans' considerable patience. On November 2, he was one of 13 incumbent governors on the ballot across America. Eleven of these incumbents won, but Mr. Culver lost by a hefty 53% to 43% margin. What had Chet Culver done to receive such a harsh rebuke from normally amiable Midwesterners? He tried to gut Iowa's popular Right to Work law -- and he was sneaky about it. After saying nothing about the Right to Work issue during his successful 2006 gubernatorial campaign, Mr. Culver announced, almost as soon as the votes were counted, his support for legislation imposing forced union dues and fees on Iowa workers as a condition of employment. Since Mr. Culver's fellow Democrats controlled substantial majorities in both chambers of the Iowa Legislature that greeted him upon his inauguration in early 2007, it seemed Big Labor's stealthy scheme to bring back forced unionism to the state six decades after it had been banned would succeed. For four years, Gov. Culver tried to help union bosses extract forced fees from workers who choose not to join. But freedom-loving Iowans first thwarted him legislatively and then defeated him at the polls. But the National Right to Work Committee and the Iowans for Right to Work Committee were already mobilizing resistance. Pro-Right to Work Iowan Stopped Forced-Union-Fee Schemes in 2007 and 2009 Even before the new Legislature convened in January 2007, the National Committee began sending out a series of statewide and targeted mailings to members and supporters in Iowa, with a focus on selected House and Senate members in vulnerable seats.

Job Losses Increase Pressure For Reform

Job Losses Increase Pressure For Reform

(Source: August 2010 NRTWC Newsletter) Grass-Roots Right to Work Efforts Expanding in Midwestern States Pro-forced unionism politicians like Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich., shown here with former Vice President Gore and President Obama) have lost credibility due to the extraordinarily poor economic performance of forced-unionism states. Credit: Radiospike.com 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 join or pay dues or fees to a labor union just to keep their jobs. But over the past decade, the contrast between Right to Work states and forced-union-dues states has been especially stark in the Midwest. Four Midwestern forced-unionism states -- Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana -- suffered absolute private-sector job declines over the past decade that were worse than those of any of the other 46 states. Midwestern forced-unionism states (the four just mentioned, plus Missouri, Wisconsin and Minnesota) lost a net total of 1.88 million private-sector jobs. Combined, these seven forced-unionism states had 8.1% fewer private-sector jobs in 2009 than they did back in 1999. Meanwhile, the five Midwestern Right to Work states (North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Kansas) experienced an overall private-sector job increase of 2.3%. Moreover, from 1999 to 2009, real personal income in Midwestern Right to Work states grew by 17.3% -- an increase two-and-a-half times as a great as the combined real personal income growth in Midwestern forced-unionism states. State Right to Work laws prohibit the firing of employees simply for exercising their right to refuse to join or bankroll an unwanted union. At this time, 22 states have Right to Work laws on the books. However, because of intensifying grass-roots efforts in many of the remaining 28 forced-unionism states, the number of Right to Work states could be on the rise over the course of the next few years. Recession's End Won't Suffice to Revive Big Labor-Controlled States

Iowans Again Defeat Forced-Union-Fee Scheme

Iowans Again Defeat Forced-Union-Fee Scheme

But Hawkeye State's Popular Right to Work Law Still Under Fire (Source: May 2010 NRTWC Newsletter)  Over the past four years, union lobbyists in Des Moines employed every conceivable tactic to ram through the Hawkeye State Legislature legislation gutting Iowa's popular, six-decade-old Right to Work law. Again and again, union officials have threatened to recruit and bankroll primary challengers to run against Democratic legislators who refused to back forced union fees. This March, one union lobbyist is even alleged to have told a state lawmaker, "You could have $100,000 in your account to fight off any challenger," if he switched his position and voted for the forced-union-fee bill then pending in the Legislature. However, the National Right to Work Committee and its grass-roots ally, the Des Moines-based Iowans for Right to Work Committee, energized freedom-loving Iowans to fight back every step of the way. And this spring, the Big Labor politicians who run the Iowa House and Senate finally backed down and adjourned the 2010 session without ever bringing up for a vote H.F.2420, the Right to Work-gutting measure introduced in the 2009-10 Legislature. Union Bosses Remain Determined To Destroy Right to Work Law Not taking anything for granted, the National Right To Work Committee legislative department kept the heat on until the Iowa Legislature called it quits after an unusually short 2010 session on Tuesday, March 30. And the battle to save Iowa's Right to Work law is far from over even now.