With the impending Labor Day Holiday, a new report from the Mackinac Center illustrates the benefits of Right to Work laws that give workers the freedom to decide for themselves whether to join a union or not. The full report is available here. As the executive summery notes:
From 1947 through 2011, right-to-work laws increased average annual employment and real personal income growth by 0.8 percentage points in right-to-work states. Average annual population growth in these states increased by a lesser degree — approximately 0.5 percentage points — but this effect was still statistically significant.
Furthermore, as the the report points out, the results of adopting such a law may vary depending on economic conditions and time periods.
From 1947 through 1970, there was no measured statistically significant effect of right-to-work laws for states with such laws. From 1971 through 1990, however, right-to-work laws increased average annual employment and real personal income growth by about 0.9 percentage points and increased average annual population growth by 1.3 percentage points. Further, from 1991 through 2011, the effect in each category was slightly smaller than in the previous period, but each was still statistically significant.
As we celebrate Labor Day, it is worth thinking about both the accomplishments of private sector labor unions and the necessity that workers freely choose whether to be represented by them or not.