Thursday, February 2, 2012

Right-to-Work Laws Waste Time for Politicians, Unions

February 2, 2012

For the first time, supporters of right-to-work laws can claim victory in the industrialized Midwest. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels yesterday signed legislation making it illegal to require nonunion workers to pay union dues.

Right-to-work laws have taken on oversized symbolic importance, outweighing the actual cost to unions or the real benefits to employers. Worse, the combat discourages the two sides from working together to manage cyclical ups and downs or to improve productivity, which increases profits, lifts wages and ultimately results in economic expansion.

Unions loathe right-to-work laws because they can make organizing more difficult and, they insist, lead to lower wages and less generous benefits. Some governors, on the other hand, think a right-to-work law is the best proxy for how business- friendly their state is.

Twenty-three states, mostly in the South and Southwest, now have such laws. Lawmakers in Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, and other states may try to follow, largely out of fear of being left behind in the race to attract companies. Republican U.S. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina is pushing for a national right-to-work law.


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