Note from Dan: On Monday President Obama was in Michigan, where the legislature recently rammed through an anti-union “right to work’ law. The president termed it a “right to earn less” law. Regular Ron May added to that with some substantiation on the Tuesday OPEN thread. I didn’t want his post to get buried there. Here it is, below. Fyi, Virginia is among 24 states with such laws.
• Right-to-work laws have no impact in boosting economic growth: research shows that there is no relationship between right-to-work laws and state unemployment rates, state per capita income, or state job growth.
• Right-to-work laws have no significant impact on attracting employers to a particular state; surveys of employers show that “right to work” is a minor or non-existent factor in location decisions, and that higher-wage, hi-tech firms in particular generally prefer free-bargaining states.
• Right-to-work laws lower wages—for both union and nonunion workers alike—by an average of $1,500 per year, after accounting for the cost of living in each state.
• Right-to-work laws also decrease the likelihood that employees get either health insurance or pensions through their jobs—again, for both union and nonunion workers.
• By cutting wages, right-to-work laws threaten to undermine job growth by reducing the discretionary income people have to spend in the local retail, real estate, construction, and service industries. Every $1 million in wage cuts translates into an additional six jobs lost in the economy.
• With 85 percent of Michigan’s economy concentrated in health care, retail, education, and other non-manufacturing industries, widespread wage and benefit cuts could translate into significant negative spillover effects for the state’s economy.