American Thinker: Right to Work and Individual Rights

Sylvia Bokor outlines the critical connection between the Right to Work and individual rights: The Right to Work clause came into existence in 1935, embedded in the Taft-Hartely Law. It means that (a) employees may not be forced to join a union, that (b) employers need not hire only those who agree to join a union, and (c) that employers need not fire employees for failing to join a union or pay union dues. What does this mean in dollars and cents? Consider one of the worse-case scenarios: the Nelson Index ranks New Mexico, a non-Right to Work state, below the national average. Recently, the Rio Grande Foundation published its study of the effect of Right to Work on business growth and increased personal income in New Mexico. The Foundation concluded that were New Mexico to become a Right to Work state, "[b]y 2020, New Mexico would have 42,300 more people working ... [and that] the state's personal income would be nearly $5 billion higher, and wage and salary income would be $2.2 billion higher." But why? Why does prohibiting the use of force have such a hugely beneficial effect on economic growth and prosperity? The National Institute of Labor Relations Research answers the question. Mr. Greer begins his article by correctly identifying the foundation of the Right to Work clause: "Big Labor propaganda against Right to Work legislation and laws rarely focuses on the principle at stake: freedom of association." Later he states: "... Right to Work laws are not merely or even primarily an economic development tool. Right to Work laws and legislation are really a matter of freedom, not economics." True. But go deeper still. Individual rights are the foundation of freedom. "Freedom is the absence of force." Without individual rights, freedom does not exist. To the extent one's rights are violated, to that extent is one's freedom is curtailed, ultimately to be destroyed altogether. By definition, individual rights include the assurance that no man may violate the rights of another with impunity. A culture permeated by freedom is a culture enjoying the essential condition for prosperity: protection and recognition of individual rights. Philosophically, the Right to Work clause is the recognition of man's right to think for himself, to make his own choices and decisions -- i.e., his right to life. Personal happiness fuels productivity. Prosperity results. So why do union bosses continue to block implementation of the RTW clause?

Greer: Economic Boom in America’s Newest Right to Work State

Greer: Economic Boom in America’s Newest Right to Work State

From Stan Greer at the National Institute for Labor Relations Research: Indiana Performing Well in Job Growth Ball State University economist Michael Hicks: "Indiana just zoomed past the rest of the country in terms of job growth" during the first full month after its Right to Work law took effect. In the U.S.as a whole, the anemic private-sector employment growth of early 2012 got even more feeble last month, as the nation’s business payrolls barely increased by an estimated 0.1%, seasonally-adjusted. (See link) However, job seekers are faring far better in some regions of the country than in others. A notable example is America’s 23rd Right to Work state, Indiana. As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics first reported (see link) and as WIBC news radio in Indianapolis discussed early today, one out of every eight private-sector jobs created in the nation in April was “created in Indiana.” This is remarkable, because the Hoosier State is home to just 2.2% of America’s private-sector employees. Michael Hicks, an economist at Ball State University in Muncie and a frequently quoted analyst of the Indiana economy, is impressed: “We’ve seen good job growth over the last several months in Indiana but it looks like the nation as a whole was slowing down a bit. But last month Indiana just zoomed past the rest of the country in terms of job growth.” Previously, Dr. Hicks had been publicly skeptical about whether Indiana’s new Right to Work statute, which was adopted in early February and took effect in mid-March, would have much impact on job creation. He still insists its “too early to tell,” but now admits “it’s pretty difficult to say” the state’s sudden burst of private-sector payroll job growth in April, even as private-sector job creation nationwide practically ground to a halt, is not related to Indiana’s new ban on compulsory union dues and fees.

Right to Work is about Freedom and Jobs not Political Parties

Right to Work is about Freedom and Jobs not Political Parties

President Obama, pandering to a crowd of Democrat party AFL-CIO union activists, attacked Right to Work laws as being more about politics than economics when the inverse is true -- opposition to Right to Work laws is about the Big Labor-owned Democrat party not economics. The President's own Department of Commerce's proves our point: Somethings never CHANGE, no matter how much we HOPE it does. Today the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis posted annual personal income data for 2011 on its web site. The data show that Right to Work states continue to enjoy a substantial income growth advantage over forced-unionism states. The Right to Work growth advantage is especially strong when it comes to private-sector compensation – that is, the wages, salaries, bonuses and benefits businesses provide for their employees. From 2010 to 2011 alone, private-sector compensation increased by 2.2% in the 22 Right to Work states, after adjusting for inflation with the U.S. Labor Department’s consumer price index (CPI-U). In the 28 compulsory-unionism states, real private-sector compensation increased by just 1.7%. (Just this month, Indiana became the 23rd Right to Work state as the law banning forced union dues and fees signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels in early February took effect.) Over the past 10 years, from 2001 to 2011, real private-sector compensation in Right to Work states grew by 12.5%. That increase is four times as great as forced-unionism states’ aggregate gain of just 3.1%.

Big Labor's War on the Private Sector in Ohio and across the USA

Big Labor's War on the Private Sector in Ohio and across the USA

Stan Greer of the National Right to Work Committee comments on big labor's ongoing efforts to have taxpayers finance their growing payroll costs in Ohio: Over the past four decades, the share of Ohio private-sector employees' pay that is consumed by the Buckeye state's heavily unionized state and local government workforce payroll costs has soared dramatically. U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis data show Ohio's state and local government employee compensation (including wages, salaries, benefits and bonuses) amounted to 11.2 percent of all compensation for private-sector employees in 1970. By 1990, the number had soared to 14.6 percent. Last year alone, total state and local compensation rose 7.7 percent, to $29.4 billion — or 17.3 percent of total compensation for private-sector employees. Ohioans' government employee spending burden grew vastly over the past 40 years even as the state's constituencies for several key services furnished by state and local employees shrank as a share of the total population. For example, in 1970, 26.4 percent of Ohio residents were K-12 school-aged (5-17 years-old). By 2010, just 17.4 percent of Ohio residents were in the same age bracket. As of 2010, 46.2 percent of the Buckeye state's public employees were laboring under a contract negotiated by union officials wielding monopoly bargaining power. By comparison, just 9 percent of Ohio's private-sector employees were unionized. Ohio is far from the only state in which business employees and employers are increasingly overburdened by a Big Labor-dominated government sector. But Ohio's private sector is having an especially hard time. While private employer expenditures for employee compensation increased by an inflation-adjusted 4.3 percent from 2000-2010 nationwide, Ohio businesses spent 6.6 percent less on employee compensation in 2010 than they had in 2000. Ohio is one of just five states with negative private-sector compensation growth over the past decade. All five of these economic laggards have something in common: They lack a right-to-work law protecting employees' freedom to refuse to join or pay dues or fees to an unwanted union, without being fired as a consequence. In fact, 13 of the 14 states with the lowest 2000-2010 private-sector compensation growth don't have right-to-work laws. In the 22 states that have right-to-work laws in effect, real private employee compensation over the same period grew by an aggregate 11.3 percent — two-and-a-half times as much as the national average. Meanwhile, private-sector employees in 20 of the 22 right-to-work states experienced compensation growth above the national average. The best news Ohio business employees and employers have had in many years was the passage into law this spring of Senate Bill 5, a government reform package that includes provisions protecting the right to work for all state and local public employees. It also reduces the scope of government union officials' monopoly-bargaining privileges in several other ways. While a full-fledged right-to-work law would do much more to get Ohio back on track, Senate Bill 5 marks a significant step in the right direction. Nearly half of the forced dues-paying employees in Ohio are government workers. A huge chunk of the loot Big Labor rakes in from such workers goes into electioneering and lobbying efforts in support of union officials' tax-spend-and-regulate agenda — greatly impeding private-sector job and income growth. Over the course of the next few years, Senate Bill 5 can begin undoing the damage Big Labor has wrought on Ohio over the years — if union officials' ongoing, multimillion-dollar, forced dues-fueled campaign to overturn it is first thwarted.