In New Hampshire, ‘Right to Work’ Claims ‘Utterly’ Without Merit

When lawmakers-usually with the backing of corporations and right-wing, anti-worker groups-push for so-called right to work laws, they claim it will bring business and jobs to their states. Nothing could be further from the truth, says economist Gordon Lafer.

Lafer testified earlier today before a New Hampshire state Senate committee on proposed "right to work" for less legislation. In a study released this morning by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), he shines a light on the deceptive methodology used to derive these claims and the harm the laws could have on New Hampshire's economy.

Backers of the proposed legislation cite figures from the National Right to Work Committee to back up their job and economy claim. Says Lafer:

...the claims supplied by the Right to Work Committee are utterly without economic foundation. If a college student presented an analysis similar to the committee's for a graduate thesis, it would be rejected for faulty methodology. In America, anyone is free to advocate a personal ideological agenda, but both legislators and the public at large deserve to know the difference between ideological passion and scientific fact.

In "Right-to-Work: Wrong for New Hampshire," he writes:

Contrary to what RTW backers have claimed, the scientific analysis of right-to-work laws shows that they lower wages and benefits for both union and nonunion workers alike without exhibiting any positive impact on job growth.

Simply put, at a time of economic need, right-to-work laws are a prescription for further decline.

An earlier report, "The Compensation Penalty of ‘Right-to-Work' Laws," by EPI economists Elise Gould and Heidi Shierholz, found that wages in "right to work" states are 3.2 percent lower than in states without the law. Workers also are less likely to have employer-sponsored health insurance and employer-sponsored pensions.

A bill to force "right to work" for less was introduced this morning in the Pennsylvania State House. Pennsylvania is the 13th state this year to consider such legislation.

AFL-CIO Now Blog, Tues Apr 5 2011
Byline: Mike Hall

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