Tonight during his State of the Union address, President Obama will be talking about jobs and the economy. If he’s serious about that, he should back Senator Rand Paul’s National Right To Work Act which would “the current provisions in federal labor law that authorize compulsory union dues and fee payments as a condition of employment.”
Why is that important? Because when a workers right to choose when it comes to labor organization is protected the economy does better. From the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (chart via Mark Perry):
Of all the economic reforms Congress may consider this year and in 2014, S.204 would surely have the strongest positive impact for incomes and jobs. The potential boost S.204 could give to the national employment market can be illustrated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s data for civilian employment in the 50 states from January 2009, the month Barack Obama took office as U.S. President, through December 2012. This is the most comprehensive Labor Department gauge of job growth available.
In the 22 states that had Right to Work (RTW) laws on the books protecting employees from forced union dues throughout the past four years, civilian employment has grown by a net 1.51 million, or 2.7%, since January 2009 (see chart above). Meanwhile, in the 27 states that lacked Right to Work laws prior to December 2012, civilian employment fell by nearly 240,000, or 0.3%.
All the eight states with the highest percentage job growth from January 2009 through December 2012 — Florida, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — are Right to Work. Meanwhile, seven of the nine states with the worst job losses are forced-unionism.
Put simply, when unionization is forced jobs are destroyed. When unionization is a choice, jobs are created.
The problem for President Obama is that the unions are perhaps his most important political constituency, and what’s best for the unions isn’t what’s best for America.