Right to Work vs Union State Economies

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Right to Work vs Union State Economies
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Right to Work vs Union State Economies

Unions exert their political muscle whenever state politicians advance the practice of right to work legislation. Small business enterprises are the first causality in states that require unionization of the workforce to qualify for government contracts. The underlying assumption that Statist proponents of high cost labor benefits workers is a false conclusion. The political class seeks to guarantee the generous flow of campaign contributions for their willingness to exclude entrepreneurial ventures, which hire from the unemployed and build solid business enterprises.

Absent from the economic statistics is the responsibility of government to protect the universal right of every legal citizen to earn a living by the sweat of their brow. Essentially, any discussion or comparison of right to work states vs union states must settle upon the nature of this basic of human rights.

When academic institutions abandon the private sector and become a state-run research university, one should expect that research studies often reflect the establishment viewpoint. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a Ball State Study: Right-To-Work Results Sketchy Elsewhere - would want to shield the rust belt economic structures, when the world has gone digital.

"A new Ball State University study shows right to work has no meaningful impact on job growth in the manufacturing sector. Economist Mike Hicks says the study examined the manufacturing sector in states where right to work became law.

Hicks says the study finds that manufacturing wages, employment and economic growth remained virtually unchanged in states after right-to-work laws took effect. He says in Indiana, the climate is almost too positive to need such a law."


Note that the conclusion, from this study, that there is no need for a right to work law, totally ignores the natural rights of workers. It is one thing to bash the small business owner in the course of a pro union stand. However, where is the fairness to the worker, when selected union positions often become a political patronage condition of employment?

The political winds are changing in the Hoosier State. Under the leadership of Governor Mitch Daniels, the Indiana right-to-work bill advances to full House of Representatives.

"The House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee voted 8-5 Tuesday morning to advance a ban on contracts that require workers to pay union fees for representation.

Supporters of the right-to-work measure say it would bring more jobs to Indiana, where unemployment has crept up to around 9 percent. Opponents say it is aimed at breaking unions and claim it would depress wages for all workers."

An objective analysis must inquire how any sensible policy can object to legislation, which removes restrictions on job creation. As long as unions are so conjoined to unrealistic pension obligations that drain operating capital resources and destroy business growth, how can the unemployment diminish from the current levels?

Even if one believes or accepts that unions are a positive force, a current California case Supreme Court to hear union dues case Tuesday, challenges the hideous practice of requiring union dues to finance political causes that are objectionable to many workers.

"The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the appeal of eight California non-union civil servants over an assessment they say the Service Employees International Union wrongly collected from them.

An attorney for the National Right to Work Legal Foundation is making the oral argument Jan. 10 for the plaintiffs in Knox v. SEIU Local 1000.

The high court will presumably answer two questions.

One is whether a state can require a non-union employee to pay a special labor union assessment that is intended for political expenditures - if notice, information and an opportunity to object to the said special assessment by the labor union is not provided.

The other question is whether it is permissible for a state, in this case California, to make civil service employment contingent upon payment of an employee union assessment that will be used to finance opposition to a political referendum."


Escaping the traps of mere party patrician politics, the essential issues as to the conditions that best foster economic prosperity remain. Decades of exodus from required union shops to right to work environments are proof positive that the workers vote with their feet.

Add to this outflow of skilled or new entries to the work force are the financial burden of debt obligations required to support the high cost union model. Public service unions compound the problem. Only a culture of denial entrenched in an anachronistic fantasy of yesteryear can defend state budget shortfalls that fund union pensions.

At the end of the day, the union state economies are fiscally unsustainable. Just look at the States that created the most employment over the years. This data refutes the Ball State University study of Mr. Hicks. Use your common sense; the economic facts prove that forced unionization only benefits political hacks and subsidized favored employees. Your tax dollars pay for this imbalance.

While the distinction between trade union workers and public employees is real, the former, is paid from the cash flow of the business endeavor, while the latter is solely funded from the tax dollars of the public. The manufacturing sector is on life support, with products flooding into this country produced by cheap labor. How can a structure of inefficient union scales and irrational benefits compete when the globalists are allowed to run wild?

The answer for leveling the field surely cannot be based upon maintaining an export strategy of selling products sold in cheap dollars, while bearing the high cost of union labor. The way to raise real income is to produce products for domestic consumption, while defending our economy with protective tariffs.

Add to this formula the right to work, open competiveness and a dramatic reduction of public sector unions and you have a fighting chance to bring down high unemployment suffering. Prosperity for it to be equitable needs balance. What exists now resembles a top down management monocracy that partners with state union advocates that suck the lifeblood from the ordinary consumer.

Your right to work is a moral issue and no government has the authority to strip your personal motivation or effective ability to earn an honest living.

James Hall – January 18, 2012

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