The Right to Work for Less
Michigan has recently become the 24th state in the union to pass a “right-to-work” law, continuing what is unfortunately beginning to look like a new national trend in anti-worker legislation. Proponents claim that right-to-work is about encouraging employee freedom of choice, but what effects do these laws really have on workers?
Luckily, there is a quite a bit of data available to work with on this subject. What we see, is that right-to-work states consistently produce lower paying jobs, with less benefits, and tend to have much higher rates of income inequality.
Michigan — just like the rest of the country — has seen a steady decline in union membership rates over the past few decades. Also, like the rest of the country, it has seen a pronounced decline in the share of income going to its middle class workers. ￼
The decline of unionization has been devastating to the middle class. The correlation between income disparity and unionization is undeniably clear, and, unfortunately, the trend is moving in the wrong direction. What’s worse, with the rise of right-to-work laws, this problem only stands continue to become more severe as time goes on.
There is a multitude of benefits that workers receive from membership in a union, including a safer workplace, more benefits, better wages, and an overall higher job satisfaction rate.
In states with right-to-work laws, workers:
On average earn more than $5,000 less than those in states without right-to-work laws
Are more than 50% more likely to experience a workplace fatality
Are nearly 30% less likely to have health care provided by an employer
The only “right” about right-to-work — the right to work for less.