Protecting Workers From Forced Unionism the ‘Right Thing to Do’
This fall, members of grass-roots groups based in states as diverse as New Hampshire, Illinois and Montana are striving with all their might to follow in the footsteps of Kentucky Right to Work activists.
Freedom-loving citizens in New Hampshire, Illinois and Montana, as well as in other states like Minnesota, Delaware and Colorado, are turning up the pressure on their state legislative and executive candidates to oppose forced unionism.
And proponents of making union membership fully voluntary now sense they have the wind at their back, largely because of the five state Right to Work laws that have been adopted and taken effect just since the beginning of 2012.
Thanks to the recent progress made by Right to Work proponents, most states now have laws on the books prohibiting forced union dues and fees, and just over half of all Americans today enjoy the benefits of living in a Right to Work state.
Right to Work States’ Factory Job Growth Triple That of Forced-Dues States
Public efforts to enact more state Right to Work laws are intensifying in part because such laws are seen as a means for a state to attract new job-creating and income-raising business investments.
Throughout most of the nine years since the official end of the 2008-2009 national recession, overall U.S. employment and incomes only rose at a snail’s pace.
Consequently, every state has been under more pressure to capture as high a share as possible of all domestic economic growth.
“The evidence that states protecting employees from compulsory unionism are outpacing states that don’t in the creation of good, family-supporting jobs is indeed compelling,” commented Matthew Leen, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee.
As an example, Mr. Leen cited U.S. Labor Department data regarding net manufacturing payroll employment growth from 2012 to 2017, the last five years for which data are available.
According to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall manufacturing payroll jobs increased by 5.5% in the 23 states that had Right to Work laws on the books throughout that entire period.
Meanwhile, factory employment grew by only about a third as much, on average, in the 23 states where Right to Work laws have yet to be enacted and take effect.
Mr. Leen also cited the very recent example of Kentucky, which over the course of 2017, the first year its Right to Work law was in effect, attracted a record $9.2 billion in corporate-expansion and new-location projects.
A new bus factory in Shepherdsville that is expected to employ more than 500 people by next year is just one example of the opportunity-creating business investments Right to Work Kentucky is attracting.
No Worker Should Be Forced To Bankroll a Union He Or She Never Asked For
“Thanks to such investments, thousands and thousands of new good-paying jobs are available for Bluegrass State employees,” said Mr. Leen.
“Of course, the primary reason states should adopt Right to Work laws is that no employee should be forced to bankroll a union he or she never asked for, and doesn’t want.
“Prohibiting the termination of employees for refusal to pay money to an unwanted union is simply the right thing to do.
“And besides being morally right, standing up for each worker’s freedom to do as he or she pleases with the fruit of his or her labor is politically smart.”
Mr. Leen explained: “Just two years ago, for example, voters in West Virginia had their first opportunity to react at the polls to the adoption of their state Right to Work law in 2015.
“Big Labor officials from around the country poured forced-dues money into the Mountain State to try to punish the politicians who had voted against forced unionism.”
Politicians Who Passed Right to Work Were Rewarded at Polls in 2016
“But West Virginia voters simply refused to cooperate,” Mr. Leen continued.
“When the dust settled after the November 2016 elections, the GOP state Senate caucus, which had supplied all of the chamber’s 18 votes for Right to Work the previous winter, had expanded from 18 seats to 22 seats.
“The uniformly pro-forced unionism Democrat caucus had shrunk from 16 seats to 12.
“And the utter failure of union kingpins in West Virginia and other states to make good on their threats to punish politicians for supporting Right to Work should encourage 2018 state candidates to stand up for employee freedom.”