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The right to work for less

You may have seen the pictures in today’s news of the protests following Michigan’s passage of right-to-work legislation. Despite Governor Snyder’s assurance that the legislation is “all about taking care of the hard-working workers in Michigan,” the protestors surely thought otherwise.

Here in North Carolina, we’ve had right-to-work laws on the books for over half a century. We also have the dubious distinction of being the least unionized state in the nation. We haven’t seen many protests over the issue, but perhaps it’s time to reevaluate.

Research has shown that the arguments about right-to-work legislation being about workers’ rights and job creation don’t hold up. Whether unionized or not, the average worker in a right-to-work state earns approximately $1,500 less per year than a similar worker in a state without such laws. These lower wages in turn hurt the economy, restricting funds flowing into local economies and reducing consumer demand. Moreover, recent state-by-state analysis has found that right-to-work laws have had no impact whatsoever on economic growth in the states that have them.

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