A new study confirms what many of us have long said: the end result of “right to work” legislation is a slowing growth of wages for regular working people. After all, why would wages grow after you cut the legs out from under organized labor, the one force that has demonstrated the ability to lift wages up for all working people?
All of this was predicted in 2012, when Gov. Rick Snyder and his legislative Republican henchmen succeeded in forcing right-to-work bills through the legislature in a single day, without any public hearings or comments and over the objections of 12,500 people who showed up to protest. Economists and labor organizers warned them then that replacing labor rights laws with so-called “right to work” laws that do little but weaken unions would end up lessening bargaining rights, and therefore, depressing wages.
A new study shows that is exactly what happened.
In Michigan and two neighboring states that passed Right to Work laws, wages have grown slower than in three other Great Lakes states that have preserved collective bargaining rights.
That’s according to the findings of a new study by the left-leaning Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) on Right to Work laws in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin and their impact on wages.
The study found that from 2010 through 2016, workers in the three states earned an average of 8 percent less per hour than people in nearby Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio, states that have not enacted Right to Work legislation.
The ILEPI report determined that unionization rates in the Right to Work states were 2.1 percent lower than in the states that maintain collective bargaining. Comparatively, union membership also contracted at an accelerated pace in Michigan and the other Right to Work states, according to the report.