March 2, 2015

Over the weekend, Faux News' Cavuto On Business were singing paeans to Scott Walker for ramming through the utterly misnamed Right to Work (RTW) legislation. The panel, which consisted of Neil Cavuto hosting along with Adam Lashinsky, Ben Stein, Charles Payne, Charlie Gasparino and Dagen McDowell, said that it was un-American to force people to pay union dues and compared unions to the Mafia. In the same breath though, they praised their own unions. Go figure.

Oddly enough, they made no mention that Walker said that he didn't want RTW in Wisconsin, calling it "a distraction."

What their little propaganda session was was nothing more than just the regurgitation of the same discredited talking points for RTW. They claimed it was all about choice and freedom and 'Murica and how it would create more jobs and increase wages.

It does sound grand, doesn't it? Too bad it it's more full of shit than a industrial dairy farm.

First of all, workers already have the choice not to belong in a union. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 outlawed closed shops.

What RTW legislation actually does is have government interfere with the contracts between private businesses and their employees by stating that workers don't have to pay their fair share. In other words, it means that the worker can get all the benefits of union representation without paying for it. This is why many people call RTW the Right to Freeload.

It would be like having the right to live in a community where there are police and firefighters to protect you, where your garbage gets picked up and your roads get plowed, but you don't have to pay for it. Your neighbors can pay for it, if they so choose. Naturally, these services will decline and/or disappear since not enough people are paying for them.

It's the same with the unions. If not enough people support, they lose the ability to fight for adequate pay, decent benefits and job safety.This is why RTW states have lower wages, higher levels of poverty, lesser benefits, poorer schools (no money to pay for them), and higher rates of death and injuries on the job sites.

As for the supposed economic benefits of this draconian legislation, I would refer the gentle reader to Abdur Chowdhury, an economics professor at Marquette University, who cleanly cuts through the RTW lies:

Proponents of right-to-work laws advance two major arguments. First, they claim right-to-work laws make a state more attractive to business investment. Second, that passage of a right-to-work law will lead to job growth.

Most evidence, however, suggests that right-to-work legislation, by itself, is not much of a factor in where firms locate. Studies have consistently found there are several key factors that business decision-makers consider and compare when deciding among alternative investment sites. In annual surveys of small manufacturers conducted by Area Development magazine, including the most recent last month, right-to-work never ranked in the top 10 factors influencing location decisions. Issues such as transportation infrastructure, ease of permitting, existing workforce, state and local tax policy and several others were considered more important to site selectors.

Another argument for right-to-work is the claim that it creates more jobs. But numerous studies have shown it is not right-to-work laws that matter, but rather the "pro-business package" offered by right-to-work states that seems to matter. The 24 states with right-to-work laws have very different economies, and their economic fortunes are mostly explained by the unique features of their economies and state economic development policies.

The facts also show that right-to-work legislation puts downward pressure on wages. According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics from 2013, the average wage for all occupations in right-to-work states was nearly $4 an hour lower than in the remaining states. At the same time, right-to-work legislation erodes the quality of a state's labor force by encouraging the best and the brightest to migrate to states where wages are higher.

Another finding relates to income and spending. Right-to-work laws reduce wages, which negatively impacts income and spending, causing both to decline. Reduction in income also negatively affects the amount local government collects in tax revenue, resulting in lower sales tax receipts. Thus, right-to-work laws undermine the ability of state and local governments to raise adequate tax revenues to pay for public services.

Right-to-work also makes for less-safe workplaces, including increases in on-site injuries and even fatalities for construction workers, according to Roland Zullo, a Michigan economist. In Wisconsin, unions spend significant resources on occupational safety and negotiate job safety procedures beyond those contained in OSHA regulations.

The Economic Policy Institute also did a study, with similar findings. One thing about the EPI report does stand out - RTW is intended to lower wages:

The goal of RTW—according to its supporters—is to cut wages and benefits in the hopes of encouraging out-of-state manufacturers to move in. If it didn’t lower wages, there would be no incentive for companies to move into the state. As the Indiana Chamber of Commerce explained, “Unionization increases labor costs … [and thus] makes a given location a less attractive place to invest.” RTW is supposed to solve this problem. Similarly, a Missouri state representative championed RTW by projecting it would cut wages by “2 to 3 dollars an hour” as part of the process of attracting more companies to hire cheaper labor

If RTW was so popular, states like Wisconsin wouldn't be trying to ram it through as fast as they can before more people catch on to what they are trying to do. Even with their rush job, 1,776 people signed up to testify about RTW with the Wisconsin State Senate last week. Out of that 1,776, 1,751 were opposed to the legislation. Of the 25 that supported it, all but none were paid to be their to lobby for it.

The question that begs to be asked is why these dark money special interest groups willing to spend billions of dollars to try to destroy unions?

Thomas Donahue already gave us that answer: "The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor"

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