The West Virginia Senate passed the notorious anti-union bill allowing workers to get the benefits of union membership paid for by their union coworkers. The bill now goes to the state House. The Economic Policy Institute points out that:
- Right to work is associated with lower wages and benefits for both union and nonunion workers. In a right-to-work state, the average worker makes 3.2 percent less than a similar worker in a non-right-to-work state.
- Through cutting wages, right to work may undermine West Virginia’s small businesses, which depend on the state’s residents having wages to spend.
- Many of the arguments made by advocates of right to work ignore that under federal law it is already illegal to force anyone to be a member of a union, and it is already illegal to force workers to pay even one cent to political causes.
- Companies that are primarily interested in cheap labor are going to China or Mexico, not to right-to-work states like South Carolina or Arizona.
Whether state Republicans are passing such laws because of, or despite, these facts is up for debate. But it sure has been a popular activity for Republican legislatures and governors the past few years.