Unions and Economic Well-Being

As Indiana moves toward becoming the 23rd Right to Work state—that is, a state in which its citizens no longer have to join a union, or pay union dues or part of union dues as a condition of finding work—the unions are weighing in on this risk to their awesome political and fiscal power.  Indeed, the unions are so opposed to this fundamental freedom of citizens to seek their own Happiness that they’re preparing to do everything they can to disrupt the National Football League’s Super Bowl, which this year is to be played in Indianapolis.  Jeff Combs, organizing director for Teamsters Local 135 in Indianapolis, assures us

You can tell them we’ll take the Super Bowl and shove it.

Brad Holloway, of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 481, warned that electricians may engage in work slowdowns.

And teamsters gathered at Indiana’s statehouse last week to protest while wearing T-shirts with 46—symbolizing the 46th Super Bowl—crossed out on the back.  The unions are looking for a national stage for their protest, and they’re sure to find one with this tactic.  But is it a stage they want?  And in a state whose unemployment rate is 9%, a half-point worse than the terrible national average?  Investors.com offers some statistics from the National Institute for Labor Relations Research concerning the relative economic well-being of Right to Work states vs. union states.

It seems that Right to Work states had a better than 28% growth in real personal income vs. a shade under 14% growth in union states between 2000 and 2009.  Per capita income in the last year of the period, adjusted for states’ costs of living (so that income in California, for instance, could be compared directly with income in North Dakota), was $35,500 in Right to Work states vs. $33,400 in union states.  Right to Work states experienced a nearly 21% growth in real manufacturing GDP vs. just 6.5% in union states between 2000 and 2008.

And there’s this: Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that Right to Work states added 1.5 million private sector jobs in their states, a 3.7% increase, while union states lost 1.8 million jobs, a 2.3% decline, between 1999 and 2009.

Go for it, guys.

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