Home Uncategorized Should States Adopt Right to Work Laws? by: John W.Cooper

Should States Adopt Right to Work Laws? by: John W.Cooper


The City County Observer is pleased to provide our readers with a scholarly study on Right to Work laws from the perspective of employers, employees, unions, and wealth creation. This topic promises to be one of the more important and controversial ones that the Indiana Legislature will be addressing this year and we want to be a part of educating our fellow Hoosiers about this topic so that an our representatives truly understand the will of the governed after the governed have taken the time to read and understand a subject that we are sure will draw much attention.

This scholarly study is only 54 pages and is not partisan so please dig in and enjoy.



  1. I shall review this article (Cooper) in the near future.

    Might I also suggest a read from the May/June ‘Imprimis’ publication, Volume 40, Number 5/6, (Hillsdale College) an article of a speech given by Mark Mix, President, National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation, who makes three interesting points about the Right To Work issue.

    1. Samuel Gompers, founder and first President of the AFL, American Federation of Labor, defended the unions as the best choice for any worker, but, also stated that the labor movement was based upon the recognition of the sovreignty of the worker. Under no circumstances can the union tell workers what they can or cannot do; that they must not command any man to do anything. Each man has the freedom to choose.

    2. There are presently 22 states that are Right to Work States. From 1999 to 2009 the aggregate real all-industry GDP of these 22 states grew by 24.2%, nearly a 40% gain over the remaining 28 states as a group. Real personal incomes grew by an average of 24.3% in Right to Work States, more than double the rate for the remaining 28 states as a group.

    3. From 1999 to 2009, there was a 20% increase in interest of younger workers, ages 25 – 34, to move to Right to Work States. In compulsory union states, there was only a 3.3% increase in workers relocating.

    By spinning the retoric about Right To Work, the 5-member National Labor Relations Board is doing as much to kill jobs in America as the Obama Administration.

    “Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College”.


    • Mr. Leibundguth, as an avowed conservative, do you really believe that the government should enact legislation either to promote or assist unions in their organizing efforts, or prohibit or inhibit the same? Is that the government’s business?

      For example, if you had been elected to the city council and the Democrats introduced an ordinance to force all licensed craftsmen to take their licensing training at training centers designated by the local unions, how would you have voted – yes or no? By the way, this happened at the county commissioners in December 2004 by outgoing commissioners and was reversed by incoming commissioners the next month.

      If you would vote “no” to forcing non-union craftsmen to go through the union hall to their licensing training courses (which of course is a form of union recruitment) isn’t your stance for right-to-work legislation just the same thing from the opposite side? Goverment interference or unwarranted regulation?

      • The whole point behind Right to Work is that unions should not be allowed to compell a working man or woman to be associated with a union in any way, shape, or form. Compelling union membership or association with a union abridges the right of free association in the workplace. Anyone who wants to be a shill for the unions is free to move to Michigan, where the economy of the entire state is imploding.

        The rest of us want more economic growth for Indiana and the tri-state region.

      • True_ …

        Good questions. I will attempt to answer.

        I am a free-market capitalist. I want the business advantage to be available to all bidders on government contracts regardless of union affiliation. I do not want government to meddle in business affairs, or regulate commerce, and I do not want government favoring business simply because they are union.

        Your comment about training and training centers, I look at the end result of the training and final certification of the worker before permitting them on the job, except for an apprentice. It should not matter where training is obtained. If training is done properly, the worker will pass certified testing. I am not surprised the Evansville City Council would mandate that all workers would have mandated union shop training. This has been a Democrat stronghold for years and is their form of payback.

        If you would vote “no” to forcing non-union craftsmen to go through the union hall to their licensing training courses (which of course is a form of union recruitment) isn’t your stance for right-to-work legislation just the same thing from the opposite side? Goverment interference or unwarranted regulation?

        • I got cutoff in my last reply.

          In reply to your last paragraph …

          Right To Work issue from the union leadership perspective has to do with union dues, which is their lifeblood. The union leadership is frightened by the possibility that a worker might have the right to choose concerning union dues, and just might decide to withhold.

          If union labor was that good and union leadership and benefits were that significant, wouldn’t all workers everywhere in every profession beat down the door to union shops and demand they be permitted to work in the union? What is keeping them away? Right to Work opposition is more about demand to organize and less about right to work.

          Based on the statistics, not passing Right to Work in Indiana is a job killing measure, at a time when we can least afford to lose one more job.


          • And finally ….

            It is a concern on the wage paid to the workers. Minimum wage with no benefits is not an option, and too many workers fall into this category. Union scale with union benefits may be too costly, and government contracts do not have an option here to negotiate because of the laws on the books. We are in a recession and we have to be flexible in the short run.

            I am saying that I do not have an answer here and am open to hearing comments from other bloggers.

        • If you want to see how the City of Evansville with their goon controlled Democrat City Council abuse homeowners and businesses by pandering to unions look no further than programs like Front Door Pride. Do a little research on the problems that the old Executive Inn owner Bays had dealing with Evansville’s ways of doing business. All this and we wonder why it cost more to build something than it is worth.

          If the old boy Democrat ways are so good why do we have 10,000 abandoned houses that aren’t worth the cost of mowing the yards. Evansville better wise up soon or we will be joining Gary, Camden, and Detroit on the scrapheap of history.

          • Governor Rick Snyder says, …. if workers see no “value” in unions they should not have to pay union dues.
            Oh! Happy Day for those workers who are attracted, not to those employment opportunities in a low wage job, but they do see this “value” in an employment opportunity making a good living wage, not having to pay their fair share in union representation. Not one penny, in recognition of the livable wage he or she is about to receive, and acknowledging some support for what unions fought for, and who will continue to fight for, health benefits, safe working conditions, retirement benefits, a living wage, worker representation.
            Realizing the “value” choice these workers made, with good safe working conditions and benefits, they can now feel secure in stable wages, and now, maybe for the first time, or in a long while, being able to feed and care for their families. Being able to purchase those things that a living wage offers. Living the American dream. Perhaps now, being able to put a down payment on a home? Being able to sleep at night. All this because he or she made the right “value” choice and decided to rather than take a job opportunity with lower wages, with no benefits, no value, these workers realize without too much thought, there is “value” in a union environment, and with no union participation whatsoever to support the very environment that choices in what “value” offers. One which fosters good working conditions now, and into the future. The other without.
            The worker choosing “value“, Governors Snyder’s cryptic observation, one would think the worker be responsive, to play fair. But “right to work” is not about what’s fair.
            One then wonders, why is the police and fire unions exempt? Why not make this Governor Snyder’s “value” thing fair for everybody while we are destroying unions? Where is this “equal protection” of Article 1 of the Michigan Constitution speaks of?
            The argument that “right to work” is a solution to unemployment levels, really? Right to work state employment levels have absolutely not a thing to do with a worker’s right to work! How does ones work or “right to work” effect overall employment if either the business or the state is unable to attract new business? A worker has no control of this. What should matter to the worker, given his or her opportunity, responsibility and abilities, is the participation and contribution towards the process of obtaining better working conditions. Letting others, who don’t want to be a drain on society, contribute and make life easier in order to provide a living wage for you and your family is not “right to work” but is what is now, as some consider the 47% solution.
            Corporations lobby their political allies in Congress and state legislatures to oppose and destroy unions in order to dictate what’s best for the worker. To make the worker subordinate in order to profit off of worker low wages poor working conditions that this would bring. Is this not the argument rather than the unemployment issue? “Right to work”, is not…workers rights!
            To subordinate that very same worker who, if not for his labor, his labor down on the factory floor making the product, these companies would not see the profits that they enjoy. There would be no company.
            You will not see workers rights in “right to work”.
            Crying, union’s don’t do enough? Workers do not get “their money’s worth.”? That “value” Governor Snyder suggests? No, it’s what others lack and don’t get that is the problem. When was the last time you went in to the boss and fought for anything, just one thing? Never! Is your answer. However, let’s again go over what a union fight’s for in securing benefits on your behalf in an 8 hour workday. Living wages, health care benefits, safe working conditions, job security, worker presentation. What’s missing?
            It’s very simple…. if you don’t lack that courage. Now it’s your turn. Going in to your boss, the elevator takes you to the top floor, he sits behind a huge desk in a big chair. Now, explain to him since “unions don’t do enough” you expect much more that what union representation can offer. Your turn,…..explain exactly what you want? Perhaps your suggestions to the boss will solve the problem of 10,000 abandoned homes? Way to go!
            My advice to those who this applies to, you make that job choice, but when you go to bed at night, before you fall asleep, think about your “values“ in not supporting those others who sacrificed and made it possible for you to enjoy and benefit in what your choice in “values” has made possible. Have a good sleep.

  2. States should do whatever is necessary in the bidding wars for industry..why do you think that Tennessee gets the latest new auto plants?
    Unskilled labor in the World is in a race to the bottom and unless Hoosiers get more serious about education and less serious about basketball everyone will be working 3rd shift at Sam’s Club..

  3. “Right to work” is nothing but more Orwellian doublespeak from the
    cons(ervatives) What it means is that workers get the right to join a club or association and reap all the benefits without paying your dues.
    Which is completely unacceptable.

    It is impossible to expect an individual by themselves to negotiate with a large corporation or bureaucracy and get a fair deal.

    On the other side DL1 is correct. The going rate here in the US for semi-skilled labor is about $10-15/hr, however overseas you can get nearly the same skill level for $5/day!! And that is probably a raise for a peasant used to making $2/day. Further, if corp ABC doesn’t move their operations overseas then their competitor XYX will and undercut them on price. So it’s unfair to criticize ABC as “greedy” for moving overseas.

    I’m not sure what the answer is but Germany has very strong labor unions and they are one of the largest exporters and manufacturers in the world. Of course there the unions and management cooperate with each other as partners, instead of adversaries like here.

    • “It is impossible to expect an individual by themselves to negotiate with a large corporation or bureaucracy and get a fair deal.”

      I’ve done this my entire life. Quite successfully I might add.

      I believe unions still have their place in the skilled construction trades. However, their factory representation is no longer necessary. It is usually a negative producer of employment. Look no further than Whirlpool for an example.

    • Germany has strong unions and is a large exporter because they choose to compete with products that require very high levels of skill to produce. In short the union members in Germany provide a valuable skill set to their employers that can be exported at very high profits.

      America on the other hand has lost sight of what things like pride of workmanship and honest work for honest pay mean. We cannot become isolationists paying more for someone that puts a screw into a refrigerator door than we do for design work. If German workers skills and work ethic ever sink to the point that America’s have you will see their jobs get offshored too.

      German companies have already offshored factories to the Right to Work states of Alabama and South Carolina where MBZ’s and BMW’s now come from. And lets not forget the Volkswagon plant in Chattanooga that Indiana wanted so badly. If you think that RTW did not play a role in these decisions then your are sadly mistaken.

      In the name progressive policies to help the economy Indiana needs to lead the Rust Belt into the modern world and pass Right to Work laws. It may be the unions last chance to be competitive. If our workers really need unions to negotiate with call centers then our workforce is in worse shape than anyone ever thought.

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