Right-to-Work Scam Hurts All Workers

by Joye Barksdale  |  May 18, 2015

Right-to-Work Scam Hurts All Workers

State lawmakers in Missouri who eagerly jumped on the right-to-work bandwagon last week should have done their homework. Maybe if they had, they wouldn’t have passed a bill that will fail union and nonunion workers alike.

The Center for American Progress Action Fund and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) issued reports recently detailing how the right-to-work (RTW) scam hurts workers by weakening collective bargaining and unions’ ability to negotiate good wages and benefits.

According to EPI, wages in RTW states are 3.1 percent lower than they are in non-RTW states. That’s a difference in pay of $1,558 a year for a typical full-time, full-year employee, the report says. 

“At their core, RTW laws seek to hamstring unions’ ability to help employees bargain with their employers for better wages, benefits and working conditions,” the EPI report stated.

What’s the biggest difference between employees in RTW and free bargaining states? In states without the RTW scam on their books, workers are more than twice as likely to be in a union or protected by a union contract, EPI says. That’s ultimately good news for all workers, because the wages and benefits unions negotiate help to set the standard across industries and regions – and thereby build the middle class.

Unfortunately, middle class income has shrunk in tandem with the marked decrease in union density since the late ‘60s.  The Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that the RTW scam reduces wages and undermines unions “at a time when wage increases could bolster our middle class and strengthen local economies.”  

Next: Maryland Law Would Regulate Outsourcing
Previous: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Get news & updates from AFSCME