Protecting a Worker’s Right to Choose

There has been outspoken debate about the Right to Work law passed recently in Michigan. The issue boils down to a simple principle: one should not be coerced to join an association and have dues extracted from his or her paycheck as a condition of employment. Further, there Right to Work laws bring more prosperity to citizens in states that enact them.

Have you ever gone to purchase something and found out that to get the product you actually wanted, you were forced to buy something else you didn’t need?

Workers all over America face a similar situation when they are forced to join a union as a condition of their employment. Maybe the worker doesn’t like the union’s politics, maybe they don’t believe they are getting value for the amount of union dues they pay out each month, or maybe they believe they can represent themselves to the company better on their own. As it stands now, those reasons are invalid in many states because workers are required to join a union and have their dues extracted from their paycheck each month. The principle is simple – workers should have a right to choose who represents them in the workplace.

Watch the Freedom Foundation of Washington’s most recent Talk Back on Jobs video to see that right illustrated:

How do Right to Work laws help citizens?

  • Right-to-work means that unions can’t require an employee be fired for declining to pay union dues or agency fees, while maintaining a union’s ability to collectively bargain.
  • Right-to-work offers in-state opportunities for young workers. Between 2000 and 2011, right-to-work states have seen an increase of 11.3 percent in the number of residents between the ages of 25-34, according to the Bureau of the Census. Non-right-to-work states, over that same period of time, have seen an increase of only 0.6 percent.
  • Right-to-work means increasing wages. Private-sector, inflation-adjusted employee compensation in right-to-work states has grown by 12.0 percent between 2001-2011, according to data taken from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics. That compares with just 3.0 percent over the same period in forced-unionization states.
  • Right-to-work means low unemployment. Between 1999 and 2009, non-farm private-sector employment grew 3.7 percent in right-to-work states, but decreased 2.8 percent in non-right-to-work states. Further, the vast majority of jobs created during the Obama administration have been in states with a right-to-work law. According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, right-to-work states (excluding Indiana, which passed a right-to-work law in early 2012) “were responsible for 72 percent of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012.”
  • Right-to-work makes states more attractive for business. States with right-to-work laws dominate the “Top States for Business,” as determined by CNBC. For 2012, nine out of the top 10 best states for business are right-to-work states. By contrast, Michigan is currently 33.

From The Mackinac Center for Public Policy