A showdown over right-to-work is looming in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, whose members will soon decide whether or not Senate-approved right-to-work legislation will be sent this spring to Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk.
This bill would make New Hampshire the 28th state in the country to ban the extraction of forced union dues and fees from employees as a condition of employment.
Union officials and state politicians who reflexively side with them oppose Senate Bill 61, but they have made no serious attempt up to now to explain why it is OK to force employees to bankroll a union if they choose not to belong to it.
As even pro-Big Labor law professor Sheldon Leader has admitted, under so-called “exclusive” union bargaining, workers who don’t want a union are “often actually made worse off” than they were before.
Many workers are disadvantaged by union contract provisions that favor full-timers over part-timers and high-seniority employees over younger ones, to take just two examples.
Ordinary citizens across the country correctly sense that forced unionism is unjust.
Moreover, years and years of economic data indicate that forced unionism hinders employment growth.
For example, early this month, the U.S. Labor Department issued new and revised data regarding civilian household employment (a broad measure that includes the self-employed and independent contractors as well as employees on employer payrolls) in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
From 2010 to 2020, the total number of people employed in the 22 states that had right-to-work laws on the books for the entire decade grew by 11 percent, or just over 6 million.
Over the same decade, the total number of people employed in the 23 states that still lack right-to-work protections today grew by 2.4 percent, or just under 1.7 million.
In New Hampshire alone, employment grew by just 2.4 percent, or barely more than one-fifth the aggregate increase for right-to-work states.
The six bottom-ranking states for employment performance over the past decade, all suffering employment losses of greater than 2 percent, are all non-right-to-work.
But six of the seven top-ranking states for employment growth over the past decade are right-to-work.
In addition to being correlated with faster job growth, right-to-work is correlated with higher real incomes.
U.S. Commerce Department data, adjusted for interstate cost-of-living differences according to an index calculated by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, a state government agency, show that the average compensation per employee in right-to-work states in 2019 was $50,545.
That’s roughly $1,400 higher than the forced-dues state average, and roughly $2,300 higher than the New Hampshire average, according to the same analysis.
As eminent statistician and Yale professor emeritus Edward Tufte likes to say, “Correlation is not causation but it sure helps.”
I submit that the consistent correlation between right-to-work, faster employment growth and higher real, spendable incomes ought to help every fair-minded person reach the conclusion that banning forced union dues and fees is economically beneficial.