Friday, May 13, 2011

When will the 'right to work' -- and prosper -- come to the Bluegrass State?

In today's Wall Street Journal, economists Art Laffer and Stephen Moore deem a recent National Labor Relations Board complaint against Boeing the equivalent of building a Union Berlin Wall around the borders of forced-union states to keep companies from moving to right-to-work states.

The NRLB complaint follows Boeing's decision to move production of the 787 Dreamliner from Washington, a forced-union state, to right-to-work South Carolina.

"It's the first time a federal agency has intervened to tell an American company where it can and cannot operate a plant within the U.S.," the article states. "It lays the foundation of a regulatory wall with one express purpose: to prevent the direct competition of right-to-work states with union-shop states."

There is one piece of good news to come out of all this, however. As the economists note, this is first time the Left has actually admitted that, as a New York Times editorial puts it, unions are suffering from "the flight of companies to 'Right-to-Work states where workers cannot be required to join a union."

Of course, Laffer, Moore, the Bluegrass Institute and every other conservative observer of labor policy already knew that. One of the reasons we knew is the work of Laffer and Moore in their annual economic competitiveness report, "Rich States, Poor States" published by the American Legislative Exchange Council. Consider:

  • States that have right-to-work laws grow faster than states with forced unionism.

  • During the past decade, the right-to-work states grew faster in nearly every respect than their union-shop counterparts:

    • In Gross State Product: 54.6 percent versus 41.1 percent
    • In personal income: 53.3 percent versus 40.6 percent
    • In population: 11.9 percent versus 6.1 percent
    • In payrolls: 4.1 percent versus -0.6 percent

  • Between 2000 and 2008, nearly 5 million Americans moved from forced-union states to right-to-work ones. "That's one person every minute of the day."

  • Between 1977 and 2007, right-to-work states demonstrated a 23 percent higher per capita income growth rate than forced-union states, which "amounted to a $2,760 larger increase in per-person income in those states. That's a giant differential."

  • Wages rose faster in states that don't require union membership.
First, the federal government assaults the constitutional rights of states and individuals to determine their own health-care policies. Now, they are trying to interfere with a private company's decision to move because it "could not 'afford a work stoppage every three years' as had happened in Washington state over the past decade," according to the WSJ article.

Which gubernatorial candidate would have liked to claim credit for bringing those 1,000 Boeing jobs to Kentucky?

Hmmm. With all this talk about "jobs" we're hearing on the campaign trail in Kentucky's gubernatorial race, will we also hear that one way to attract these jobs is to get rid of our antiquated and costly forced-union rules?

Why don't you let your legislator, or your favorite gubernatorial candidate, know: Kentucky needs to tear down its own job-busting walls and support a right-to-work policy and the economic prosperity it would bring.

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