By Rep. Eric Burlison, 133rd District
The prospect of Missouri becoming a Right to Work state brings up a lot of emotional response. It’s our duty to see beyond the fervor and do what is right.
The opponents of RTW primarily claim that it will reduce wages, allow some to get a “free ride”, and expose businesses to penalties.
Everyone knows that some states have a higher average wage than other states because of the cost of living. The acid test is what your pay will buy you. According to numbers from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the 2013 cost of living-adjusted per capita, disposable personal income in RTW states was $38,915.00; in forced-union states it was just $36,959.00.
As important as the real dollar amount is for workers, where you’re headed is more critical. According to figures from the Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2003 to 2013 non-farm, private-sector payroll employment grew in RTW states by 9.2%, while creeping along at 4.0% in forced-union states.
Next, is the absurd complaint that some will get a “free ride”. There is no law that forces a union to represent non-members, other than when a contract is made all parties must abide by it. Union bosses fight to put in their contracts that they must represent all the workers. By their actions, they created this strawman argument of “free riders”.
Isn’t it ironic that the only time union bosses are concerned about the welfare of business is when the business might be penalized for doing their dirty-work? Trust me, they don’t want to be the enforcer for collecting union dues.
RTW protects the employer and employee and is no threat to a law-abiding business. More important, they put the government back on the side of individual liberty.
The status quo forces employers and employees to be wrapped in union red tape. No employer wants that and is grateful for any relief. If businesses were concerned, they and their associations like the Chamber of Commerce and NFIB would be speaking out. They aren’t and fully support RTW.
Right to Work makes Missouri more competitive in a world economy. That’s what we need – growing businesses, creating more opportunities, which increases worker pay.
Because of this, Right to Work states are increasing their working-age population faster and maintaining lower welfare rolls. According to the Bureau of the Census and U.S. Department of Commerce from 2003 to 2013 RTW states number of residents aged 35 – 54 grew by 5.4% while forced-union states shrank by 4.1% – that’s a 9 point spread.
The U.S. Administration of Children and Families reported that RTW states annual average in 2014 saw fewer welfare (TANF) recipients (5.0 per 1,000) compared to forced-union states with a staggering 12.5 per 1,000.
We’ve got to end the bunker mentality of forced-unionism in Missouri because the facts are in. If you want a pro-growth economy, then you must support the Right to Work for all Missourians.