05.20.2011 1

Economic Benefits of a Right-to-Work State

By Rebekah Rast – “There is no evidence that this legislation will offer any benefits to New Hampshire’s economy or workers,” New Hampshire Governor John Lynch said in a statement after vetoing the state’s right-to-work legislation.

Taking a closer look at the 22 states that have a right-to-work law proves Gov. Lynch’s error. There are many benefits to working in a state that gives you the option to join a union or not, such as: more new residents, more new businesses, more new jobs and faster income growth, according to a report from South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.

Evidence of this can be taken from Boeing, which made a business decision to open a new plant in the right-to-work state of South Carolina and then hired 1,000 new workers. South Carolina would likely disagree with New Hampshire’s governor. Being a right-to-work state has benefitted it greatly.

But this hasn’t been an easy move for Boeing. The company has come under direct attack from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB told Boeing that its move across the country was simply an act of revenge against the workers union in the company’s home state of Washington. Since Boeing did not layoff one unionized worker in Washington, and in fact added 2,000 new union jobs in the state since announcing its South Carolina decision, this argument doesn’t stand much ground.

As this battle continues, states like New Hampshire aren’t giving up the fight towards becoming a right-to-work state. Even though Gov. Lynch has vetoed the legislation, the Senate is said to have a veto-proof majority in support of the legislation and the House is hoping to get there as well.

States who give workers the right to choose whether or not to join a union have an overall more stimulated economy. According to Sen. DeMint’s report on right-to-work states, rapid growth in businesses in these states has led to greater job growth. “From 1993-2009, private sector employment increased 37.9 percent in right-to-work states (15.8 million jobs) compared to 19.6 percent (14.5 million jobs) in forced-unionism states.”

Likewise, the report points out that, “Individual income in right-to-work states is growing at a faster rate than forced-unionism states. From 1993-2010 real per capita personal income grew 39.5 percent in right-to-work states compared to 35.7 percent in forced-unionism states.”

“Aside from the obvious economic benefits that come from being a right-to-work state, allowing a worker to choose whether or not to join a union gives them more freedom as well as keeps the employer from being tied down by union red tape,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “Every employer should have the right to choose, and the federal government should not be the one taking away that right.”

A statement released by Sen. DeMint after the NLRB attacked Boeing’s business move echoes Wilson’s comment. “…If the National Labor Relations Board’s claim against Boeing moves forward, it will have a chilling effect on job growth in my state and in right-to-work states across the country. Using the federal government as political weapon to protect union bosses at the expense of American jobs cannot be tolerated.”

States like New Hampshire and the other 27 that have not yet adopted a right-to-work law should look to the other 22 states that have and note their profitability and healthy business environments.

“States that are adopting right-to-work legislation are pushing back against the excesses of public sector unions and restoring the freedom of choice to its citizens,” says ALG’s Wilson. “Moves towards restricting a workers right to choose are moves toward restricting freedom.”

Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government (ALG). You can follow her on Twitter at @RebekahRast.

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