The Impact of Local “Right-to-Work” Zones: Predicting Outcomes for Workers, the Economy, and Tax Revenues in Illinois

Source: Frank Manzo IV, Robert Bruno, Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois, Research Report, April 6, 2015

On April 6, 2015, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois jointly released The Impact of Local “Right-to-Work” Zones: Predicting Outcomes for Workers, the Economy, and Tax Revenues in Illinois. The report investigates the economic and policy impacts of adopting local “right-to-work” laws in Illinois. The study evaluates the 102 counties in Illinois and finds that higher union membership rates have no discernible impact on employment growth, establishment openings growth, or average household income growth. The analysis also concludes that, if half of Illinois’ counties adopted “right-to-work” ordinances, total labor income would fall by $1.3 billion, the state economy would shrink by $1.5 billion, state and local tax revenues would be reduced by $80 million, and racial and gender income inequality would both increase. Local right-to-work zones would eradicate good middle-class jobs, replacing them with low-wage employment openings and empowering wealthy owners at the expense of employees, the middle class, and taxpayers.