To the Editor:
In "Dems Speak Out Against Proposed 'Right-to-Work' Measures" (June 10), state Rep. Debbie Phillips is quoted as stating the wages are lower in "right-to-work" states (RTWS). This is contrary to the January report by James Hohman of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. His study found that RTWS have 4.1 percent higher per-capita personal income than have non-right-to-work states (NTRWS).
After adjusting for cost-of-living, Wyoming becomes the second wealthiest state while Texas, Florida and Virginia enter the top 10. Of the 22 RTWS that existed in 2007, only three were in the bottom 15
In addition to higher incomes, RTWS added more jobs and have lower unemployment than NRTWS. Since 2001, RTWS have added 1.7 million jobs while the NRTWS lost 2.1 million jobs. The unemployment rate in RTWS is a full 1 percent lower than in NRTWS over the past decade despite harsh economic conditions. RTWS attract more workers from NRTWS. Over the past two years 400,000 people moved to RTWS from NRTWS. In brief, RTWS have been gaining people and gaining income. And when adjusting for cost-of-living, these states also have higher incomes.
These findings are not unique. Drawing upon data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Patent and Research Office and Bureau of Economic Analysis, the American Legislative Exchange Council in 2008 reported that RTW states created more private-sector jobs, had lower poverty rates, experienced more technology development, had more personal income growth, and increased the number of people covered by employment-based private health insurance.
Additionally, our neighbor Indiana became a RTWS in February 2012. By December of that year, Sen. Ron Alting noted that 31 companies had come to that state, producing more than 5,000 new jobs and adding about $500 million into their companies.
Finally, teachers are just as likely to make a comfortable living in a RTWS as in a NRTWS according to a survey of Teacherportal.com, a website operated by the California-based QuinStreet, Inc. Looking at teacher salaries, 13 of the top 23 states were RTWS when factoring in salaries and cost of living.
In short, there are considerable benefits to working in a right-to-work state. Don Drolet, chair of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, said "the employees are doing perfectly fine under right-to-work. It is the union bosses who are crying like spoiled brats." Instead, union bosses have to persuade potential members to join by showing them its benefits. This is as it should be in a free society.
Oellerich, MSW, PhD.
Associate Professor of Social Work (ret.)