Study Finds Right-to-Work Laws Depress Average Wages
Monday, July 30, 2018
CHARLESTON, W. Va. — Right-to-work laws do not bring jobs, but in fact reduce wages, according to new research.
Right-to-work laws say that even workers covered by union contracts don't have to pay anything toward the cost of getting and keeping the contract. Supporters argue that states with the laws see job growth because employers are drawn by their business climate.
Former U.S. Labor Department chief economist Heidi Shierholz now is with the Economic Policy Institute. She said they've found the laws don't increase employment - but they do depress pay at the existing jobs.
"What we find is that right-to-work will not create jobs, but it will hurt the wages of middle-class workers,” Shierholz said.
The West Virginia Legislature passed right-to-work legislation in 2017. Although the law has been tied up in court, it has gone into effect, pending a further legal challenge.
Shierholz said it's complicated to compare right-to-work states with those that don't have the laws, because industries, education levels, costs of living and other factors are different. But she said once you take all those factors into account, wages in right-to-work states are still at least 3 percent lower. That means an average full-time worker takes home $1,500 less per year.
Shierholz said in spite of the rhetoric, that's what the laws are made to do.
"The proponents of Right to Work really do try to make it sound like it's gonna be good for workers,” she said. “But it's not about freedom. It is simply to reduce the wages of workers so that corporate profits can increase."
Some union members say they shouldn't be called right-to-work laws. They say a better name might be “right to work for less”. The research can be found on the EPI website: epi.org.
More information from the Economic Policy Institute specific to West Virginia is available here.
get more stories like this via email
Frustrated environmental and clean-energy advocates say after four long years of debate and compromise, regulators sent Arizona back to the starting …
When North Dakotans head out to cast their ballots later this year, there is a chance some will do so in a voting center and not a designated …
Health and Wellness
Washington state lawmakers are considering a measure to limit the growing cost of prescription drugs. Senate Bill 5532 would establish a …
The Maryland Air National Guard is considering a proposal to establish airspace where military planes would fly as low as 100 feet over the Pennsylvan…
The state of Illinois is allocating nearly a quarter-billion dollars to support new downstate transit and ports projects. Roughly half will go …
Health and Wellness
Advocates and faith groups are calling for more investments in harm reduction across the state, as new provisional data shows overdose deaths have …
More than 300 Kentucky farmers participated in the state's Farms to Food Banks program last year, and at a recent virtual rally, state officials said …
Farmers and ranchers in Montana and across the nation are calling on Congress to pass the American Beef Labeling Act. Most food is required to have …