Following is a letter I wrote to my state representative, Rob Hutton. I encourage you to write to your state representatives to oppose so-called “right to work” legislation.
I am writing to you in opposition to the proposed legislation limiting union agreements in Wisconsin. It’s being touted as “right-to-work,” but I view it as “free-rider,” giving workers benefits they haven’t worked for.
While I’m mindful of the political benefits that might accrue to supporters of the legislation, as policy, it is damaging to our state’s workers and economy.
Our state’s economy is already lagging behind our neighbors’ because of policies that serve ideological views, not economic realities.
Economists have shown:
- “Free-rider” laws have no impact in boosting economic growth: research shows that there is no relationship between right-to-work laws and state unemployment rates, state per capita income, or state job growth.
- “Free-rider” laws have no significant impact on attracting employers to a particular state; surveys of employers show that “right to work” is a minor or non-existent factor in location decisions, and that higher-wage, hi-tech firms in particular generally prefer free-bargaining states.
- “Free-rider” laws lower wages—for both union and nonunion workers alike—by an average of $1,500 per year, after accounting for the cost of living in each state.
- “Free-rider” laws also decrease the likelihood that employees get either health insurance or pensions through their jobs—again, for both union and nonunion workers.
- By cutting wages, “Free-rider” laws threaten to undermine job growth by reducing the discretionary income people have to spend in the local retail, real estate, construction, and service industries. Every $1 million in wage cuts translates into an additional six jobs lost in the economy.
Lower wages, decreased demand for businesses’ products and services, less health care. These are not things Wisconsin needs today or for the future.
I believe that the intent to “fast-track” this legislation is tantamount to an admission that proper scrutiny of the legislation will reveal its unacceptably harmful effects. That alone should suggest to you that this is bad policy and bad governmental practice.
Opposition to this legislation will best serve the interests of your constituents and the state as a whole.
8007 Portland Ave.
Wauwatosa, WI 53213