Right to Work States See Increased Job Creation
May 19, 2011 Leave a comment
Our country has a union problem. This is of course no secret to those who followed the union protests in Wisconsin a few months back. But the problem extends beyond government employee unions. There are 22 states that are right to work states, meaning union membership cannot be compulsory for employment. Those 22 states are largely in the south and west and account for around 40% of the nation’s population. Yet they accounted for 60% of the nation’s job growth over the last 20 years. With decade long double digit unemployment, Michigan ought to seriously consider passing right to work legislation.
This fact is unsurprising to those of us who understand the free market. Our nation became powerful not through military might but because of our freedom. Freedom led to Henry Ford’s assembly line, it led to the rise of Standard Oil, US Steel and any number of other companies. When there is less freedom, there is less innovation and ultimately less job growth.
Forced union membership drives businesses away because the costs of doing business with a union outweight the benefits of location. Dealing with unions is expensive and time consuming. It forces employers to focus on labor agreements rather than innovations. Union shops are notoriously inefficient, largely because of union rules. It has only been recently that GM has finally gotten rid of their sitting rooms where hundreds of full time employees came to sit around all day doing nothing. GM couldn’t fire those people because of union rules and contracts.
Surely those sitting rooms and other union rules were noticed by employers around the country who chose to build plants in the 22 right to work states rather than my state of Michigan. Michigan has had double digit unemployment for nearly a decade. Eliminating compulsory union laws would go a long way in relieving Michigan’s economic problems. Manufacturers would be able to return to our state and offer jobs again without the costs of dealing with unions. The jobs may pay a little less but that sure beats double digit unemployment for a decade straight.
But of course the sages in Lansing are unlikely to pass a right to work law. Even though we have a faux Republican Governor, a Republican House and a veto proof Republican Senate, the Legislature is unlikely to pass right to work legislation. Fear of the unions is to strong in Lansing to overcome. Gov. Snyder and GOP Legislature will pass all sorts of tax and spending bills that they allege will make the business climate better in Michigan. No doubt our business taxes have been difficult to figure out and burdensome but taxes are only a small part of the problem. The biggest reason why we’re losing our manufacturing base is unions.
The only way Michigan and other midwest and northeastern states can increase their manufacturing base is to pass right to work legislation. It’s very clear that the states who have passed right to work laws have less unemployment and increased job creation. Michigan has a shot to be a leader in the midwest and a regional magnet for new manufacturing jobs. If we pass right to work we’ll get jobs from businesses looking to move out of union friendly Illinois, Ohi0 and Wisconsin. We have the base in place for manufacturing, all we need now is the business climate.