Minnesota Free Market Institute at Center of the American Experiment last week released a new study proposing Minnesota residents would have a higher income and standard of living if the state had a Right-to-Work provision that allowed workers the freedom to join, or not to join, a labor union.
Minnesota legislators are considering such a provision as a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would be placed on this November's general election ballot.
"Minnesotans would have a higher standard of living and greater job opportunities if the state had adopted a right-to-work law 30 years ago," said Dr. Richard Vedder, chief author of the study, "Minnesota Right-to-Work: How the Freedom of Workers in the Workplace Enhances Prosperity," "Minnesota's future prosperity would be enhanced if the state allows employees to decide whether or not to join a labor union."
The study estimates that annual personal income per capita, on average, would have been $2,360 to $3,072 higher in 2008 if Minnesota had adopted Right-to-Work in 1977. On a per household basis, income would have been somewhere in the range of $5,960 to $7,740 higher if such a provision had been in place.
The report concludes that the United States operates largely under Depression-era labor laws that are increasingly out of touch with the realities of a global labor market. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 provided states an opportunity to reduce some of the adverse effects of these laws by passing "Right-to-Work" measures that give workers the right to decide whether they wish to join a union or pay union dues. Minnesota did not take advantage of that opportunity and has paid a high economic price for not doing so.
"Minnesota Right-to-Work: How the Freedom of Workers in the Workplace Enhances Prosperity" is available online at www.AmericanExperiment.org