Does “right to work” destroy jobs?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2015 | Employee Rights

Is it better to have a job than to have no job? Seemingly a no-brainer, most everyone would accept that having a job is better than being unemployed. But in some lines of work, the difference may be rather marginal.

If you work in many retail or food service jobs, which are virtually all low pay and part-time, you are likely to have to work at more than one job in order to be able to afford the cost of your rent and to buy food.

Because most of these jobs are nonunion, until recently workers have had little ability to demand higher wages. Employers have been successfully in preventing union organizing, in part because of changes made to federal labor laws in the 1950s.

The Taft Hartley Act, passed by a Republican-controlled Congress, helped to weaken unions by limiting striking and eliminating closed shops, where only union workers could be employed.

It permitted union shops, where workers can be required to join the union or pay an agency fee, but it also authorized right-to-work laws, whereby states could prohibit union shops or agency fees. An agency fee is essentially the union due with the political lobbying costs removed.

Right-to-work laws really protect not a right to work, but a right to obtain union benefits at no cost.

And in the end, by ensuring lower wages, by crippling union collective bargaining power, these laws may ultimately lower the number of jobs in a state, due to workers have less income and therefore less spending power.

In a consumer economy, jobs are created by demand. When workers, who are all consumers, cannot purchase items because they earn low wages, businesses to not expand or hire workers.

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