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.