What is Right to Work and what is Forced Unionism?
Labor Union Report does an excellent job of explaining the difference:
“What is Right to Work?
Ever since 1947, when Congress passed (over Harry Truman’s veto) the Taft-Hartley Act, which amended to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, there have been two types of states.
Note: As the NLRA does not cover airline or railroad employees, this does not apply to them.
The first type of state is called a “Non-Right-to-Work” (or forced unionism) state, which allows unions to negotiate contracts with companies that require union dues and/or fees to be paid. If a worker refuses to pay union dues or fees (often referred to as agency fees), or falls behind, the union can demand that the worker be fired from the company. The company, by contract, must comply and fire the worker.
The other type of state is a “Right-to-Work” state that forbids workers from being fired for non-payment of union dues or fees.
From 1935 through 1947, there were no Right-to-Work laws. However, there are now 22 “Right-to-Work” states that give workers the “right to work” without being required to pay union dues and/or fees, and there are 28 “Non-Right-to-Work” states that allow workers to be fired for non-payment of union dues and/or fees.”
Some facts about Right-to-Work states vs. Forced Union States
“States that have allowed this freedom, experienced tremendous growth as businesses move their operations to states that promote a friendly environment.
Right to work states have had more than double the population growth of union shop states since 1990. The Right to Work states saw, on average, a 65.5% increase in population over the 16-year period while states with union shops laws only experienced an average of a 45% increase.
Advocates of forced unionization proclaim that unions help workers by securing higher wages, but even this contention fails the numbers test. The wages of workers in Right to Work states rose an average of 23%, while in union shop states’ average wages only rose 15%.”
“The National Institute for Labor Relations Research today released its annual study comparing private-sector job growth in Right to Work states with private-sector job growth in states that do not protect employees from federal policies authorizing the termination of workers for refusal to pay dues or fees to an unwanted union.
The study reveals that not only is private-sector job growth faster in Right to Work states, but also that Right to work States’ lead in job growth is consistent over time.”
“Surprise, surprise, the top ten states with the highest tax burden on individual taxpayers are all forced union states. The northeast seems to take the cake in this area – New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Vermont all top the list. Interesting they are all heavily wrapped in a huge number of public sector union members. The top 10 states with the lowest taxes are Right-to-Work states with the exception of Alaska and New Hampshire, clearly two anomalies when comparing them to the eight other states that make the list (Note: Neither have individual payroll income taxes and Alaska receives the most federal subsidies of any state in the union).”
“Of the top 15 states with the worst debt troubles every one listed is a Forced Union state other than Mississippi and Louisiana. These states are outliers because they have assumed larger debt due to rebuilding after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Of the top 15 states with the least debt troubles, all but 4 (New Hampshire, Montana, Colorado and Indiana) are Right-to-Work states. Note that in 2005 Governor Daniels of Indiana revoked the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions. It is also notable that the Forced Union states have a higher percentage of unionized government workers than the Right-to-Work states.”
“The fact is, Ohio union leaders and their cohorts nationally are making an extremely lucrative career out of using the “interests” of teachers to shield themselves from the taxpayer microscope. The unions stood to lose tens of millions of dollars in compulsory dues if this bill succeeded, and they knew it was a fight for their very existence in the state. Under similarly controversial legislation in Wisconsin this year, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, a sister organization to the Utah Education Association and the Ohio Education Association, had to layoff half of its staff because Wisconsin teachers are no longer forced to pay union dues, further proving that the monopoly model is only sustainable under force.”
“Right-To-Work is a foundation that was established to protect the civil rights of employees while eliminating forced unionism. Right-To-Work is not so much “anti-union” but rather anti-forced unionism. The laws give employees the option to decline joining a union, back out of a union, and barring union dues from being deducted from the paychecks of public employees. Unions across the country have recently been under fire in many states and situations: Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, and Boeing of Seattle.”
“In the 17 non-Western Right to Work states, the aggregate 25-34 year-old population increased from 12.965 million to 14.602 million, or 12.7%, over the past decade. Meanwhile, in the 20 non- Western forced-unionism states, the aggregate 25-34 year-old population fell from 16.807 million to 16.036 million, or 4.6%. Western Right to Work states’ total young-adult population grew by 47.0%, compared to Western non-Right to Work states’ 8.3% increase. Even excluding slow-growth California,Western forced-unionism states’ increase was barely more than half that of Western Right to Work states.”
“The logic of state Right-to-Work laws is ironclad: Not only is safeguarding worker freedom the right thing to do,it also yields tremendous economic benefits. Recent studies from the Cato Institute and the National Institute for Labor Relations Research suggest that Right-to-Work states enjoy higher job growth and more cost-of-living-adjusted disposable income for workers than their forced-unionism counterparts.
They also seem to be weathering the recession better than old Midwestern industrial bastions like Michigan, Illinois and Indiana, states that lack protections for individual workers’ rights.
Perhaps the most compelling evidence in favor of state Right-to-Work laws was reported in a Wall Street Journal editorial last year. Citizens are voting with their feet, leaving forced-unionism states in droves for job opportunities with their Right-to-Work neighbors.”
“The ideals of an open society require the protection of freedom of choice in personal, political and economic relationships. Federal policies that force employees to pay dues or fees to a union as a condition of employment directly restrict the individual employee’s economic freedom. And their effective scope is actually much wider.”