Democrat and former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, who is now unexpectedly neck and neck against political newcomer Glenn Youngkin in Virginia’s much-publicized gubernatorial contest, recently claimed that his number-one priority as governor would be “building a great economy.”
But if that were true, why does he openly support a repeal of the Old Dominion’s longstanding and popular Right to Work law?
Right to Work first and foremost provides Virginia workers a commonsense protection against being forced to pay union bosses as a condition of keeping their jobs, reason enough alone to keep it in place.
But it also has a proven track record of creating economic opportunity and prosperity, both in the Old Dominion and the other 26 states with Right to Work on the books.
For example, in response to a Right to Work repeal bill introduced in the 2021 session by self-proclaimed socialist and soon-to-be-former Delegate Lee Carter, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) issued a Fiscal Impact Statement maintaining that “[o]ver the previous 18 months, Virginia saw nearly 153 projects in the manufacturing and supply chain sectors representing 11,791 jobs and $2.7 billion in capital investment.”
The statement said “VEDP believes many of these announcements would not have occurred” if Virginia were not a Right to Work state.
As far as the post-COVID economy goes, Virginia and the 26 other Right to Work states across the country emerged from the thick of the pandemic with almost a million more employed people than non-Right to Work states, according to the Labor Department’s Household Survey.
Also, according to Labor Department stats from July, from April 2020 to April 2021 manufacturing payroll jobs bounced back in Right to Work states by 10.1%, a roughly 60% stronger rally than the increase posted by non-Right to Work states over the same year-long frame.
The impressive post-COVID bounce back is just another example of Right to Work’s proven track record of job creation. Between 2010 and 2020, Right to Work states saw the total number of people employed grow by 11.0%.
That’s more than four times the 2.4% gain in non-Right to Work states over the same period, according to an analysis of federal government statistics compiled by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR).
The NILRR analysis also found that, after adjusting for the cost of living, the mean after-tax household income in Right to Work states was roughly $4,300 higher than households in forced-unionism states during 2019, the most recent year for which household income data is available.
The connection between Right to Work laws and better economic performance is not a surprise.
As Virginia itself can attest, business experts consistently rank the presence of Right to Work laws as one of the most important factors companies consider when deciding where to expand or relocate their plants and facilities, where they will create new jobs and new opportunities.
Right to Work at its core, however, is a moral case – the economic benefits are just the icing on the cake.
Workers should be free to decide, free from government-imposed coercion, whether they will join a union or fund its activities. Right to Work does nothing to prevent a worker from associating with a union voluntarily.
Union bosses must also adapt and become more responsive to workers under Right to Work.
If union officials cannot rely on the law to force workers to subsidize them, they must work harder to retain employee support.
Workers can always withhold their dues from union hierarchies that are ineffective, corrupt, or prioritize divisive politics over workers’ needs.
And speaking of prioritizing politics over workers’ needs: since McAuliffe’s April announcement renouncing his support for Virginia’s Right to Work law, his campaign has received millions in cash from Big Labor.
While the wisdom of this cynical calculation is already questionable given Right to Work has huge popular support in Virginia, it’s not particularly surprising coming from a man who has also sided with national union officials against parents when it comes to parental input into their children’s public school education.
Virginians and all Americans should reject politicians who cynically elevate union boss power over workers’ freedoms and economic opportunity.
Mark Mix is president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the National Right to Work Committee. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.