Scott Walker, ‘Right to Work’ and Labor’s Waning Power

Source: New York Times, Room for Debate, March 12, 2015

This week Wisconsin became the 25th state to adopt a “right-to-work” law, preventing unions from forcing workers at the companies they represent to pay dues. Supporters say these measures promote growth and increase jobs. Opponents say they gut unions and lower wages. Are “right to work” laws worthwhile?…
DEBATERS:
Income Rises When These Laws Are Passed
RICHARD VEDDER, ECONOMICS PROFESSOR
Capital moves to right-to-work states with a more stable labor environment, and that increases labor demand and, ultimately, income and wages.

Wages Are Lower in States With These Laws

ELISE GOULD, ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE
Unions bargain for better wages and benefits, and workers in “right-to-work” states have lower wages and fewer benefits.

Call It “Right-to-Work-for-Less”
GEORGE GRESHAM, 1199SEIU UNITED HEALTHCARE WORKERS EAST
Its aim is to deprive unions of dues money essential to their ability to represent workers and enforce contracts.

Both Sides Exagerrate Its Effects
BARRY HIRSCH, ECONOMICS PROFESSOR
It can strengthen unions by forcing them to be responsive to workers. And they might not encourage growth as much as supporters say.