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Power-Slamming the Wrongs of “Right-to-Work”

by Dan Burns on January 6, 2012

It’s been noted before that there’s a good chance that Minnesota Republicans will introduce a “right to work” (properly, “right to work for less” ) proposed constitutional amendment.  It so happens that Indiana is already steering that way, and an extremely well-done, comprehensive online publication details what an awful idea that is – and has, in fact, proven to be, in RTW states.

The only honest way to measure the effect of RTW is to separate out its impact from everything else. How much of Texas’ growth is due to warm weather, the oil industry, NASA, or migration from Mexico? Conducting measurements while holding everything else equal is called “regression analysis” in statistics, and it’s required for any article published in an academic journal. It is also what courts use to distinguish evidence admissible in lawsuits from what is termed “junk science.” The numbers provided by ALEC, the National Right to Work Committee, and other advocacy groups fail this most basic test; they hold nothing equal and simply assume that RTW explains growth.

Rigorous studies-using regression analysis to home in on the effect of RTW laws- show that RTW laws:

–  reduce wages by $1,500 a year, for both union and nonunion workers, after accounting for different costs of living in the states (Gould and Shierholz 2011)

–  lower the likelihood that employees get healthcare or pensions through their jobs-again, for both union and nonunion employees (Gould and Shierholz 2011)

–  have no impact whatsoever on job growth (Lafer and Allegretto 2011)

As the article notes, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has its grubby, corrupt mitts in all of this.  That outfit is bad news.

Indiana Democrats are doing what they can to block the anti-worker legislation. And, RTW looks likely to be pushed in Michigan, as well.

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