S. Moody: Benefits of right-to-work

In a Jan. 25 Sun Journal story regarding right-to-work, there were some key errors and misinformation that could take away from the fact that RTW can greatly benefit a state’s economy.

The first quote from a union-supporting group stated that “I would doubt one in 1,000 Americans even knows what right-to-work is.” So what? The Maine Heritage Policy Center study showed that people were leaving Maine for RTW states because those states have better jobs. Does that mean that one would have to know what RTW is to motivate their leaving? No, of course not.

Also, a common-sense point made in the report was ignored. The story said that Oklahoma became a RTW state in 2001 when the legislation passed; however, as the study clearly stated, the practical effects of RTW didn’t occur until 2003, because the law was held up in court. So instead of Oklahoma losing jobs, it actually gained more than 25,000 jobs in five years after the RTW law cleared the courts.

The story also claimed that, “Under federal law, workers cannot be forced to join a union as a condition of their employment.” That is inaccurate. The Taft-Hartley Act outlawed outright “closed shops,” but: “Union shops, still permitted, require new recruits to join the union within a certain amount of time ...”

Maine could benefit greatly from a right-to-work law, but it seems that unions put their own interests ahead of improving Maine’s economy. It’s time to put Maine’s economy ahead of union interests and pass right-to-work.

Scott Moody, chief economist

Maine Heritage Policy Center, Portland

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.



MARK GRAVEL's picture

Mr. Moody, As an economist,

Mr. Moody,

As an economist, you know these things tend to self-correct eventually. I left the state over two decades ago to earn my riches elsewhere (i.e. where the jobs are located). I never looked back, and I never had an ounce of regret. You are correct in that I did not care, nor does one need to care, about the dynamics driving the local economy; I simply followed the jobs.

Maine has done little to improve the business situation over that time period. Due to the relatively harsher climate (i.e. winters) and rising energy costs, Maine is already disadvantaged at the starting gate, which makes it all the more challenging to attract new business. Couple that with Maine’s abrasive business climate…. Well, all that I can say is that Maine’s youth will continue to exit the state for better opportunity.

I remain optimistic that the self-correcting nature of our capitalist economy will eventually thaw out and persuade Maine policy makers to change course. Until then, I’ll continue to earn my riches elsewhere.

 's picture

Some posters earlier have stated ...

... that right-to-work has very little or no influence at all over any aspect of labor.

Why then did unions howl bloody murder right through yesterday when Indiana became a RTW state? They sure wasted a lot of time, energy and money (follow it) over a trivial matter. Perhaps this issue is really just handwriting-on-the-wall that unions started ignoring decades ago. Unions have almost vanished from the private sector, along with the jobs they destroyed, and unions in the public sector are terrified.

Jason Theriault's picture

Let me ask you this:

Let me ask you this then: If this has "little or no influence at all over any aspect of labor", why are Republicans pushing so hard for this?

Seems to me there are much better things to do than pick a fight over something that is "trival".

 's picture

Not being a Republican, I

Not being a Republican, I can't speak for them. Obviously other groups care about the issue. Just speculating now, I suppose some Republicans might be using the Obama-tax-rate argument: He knows higher rates won't bring in more revenue, but he wants the hikes just in the interest of "fairness".

Beyond that, I didn't say it's a trivial matter - others said it. My belief is it is spectacularly non-trivial to public employee unions, who see their strangle-hold slipping away.

Jason Theriault's picture

Umm, no

"He knows higher rates won't bring in more revenue"
No, I think he thinks, like many people like myself, that if there is a equilibrium point where higher taxes stifle growth to a point they don't lead to increased revenue, we are below it.

Betty Davies's picture

right-to-work = right to what?

Lonnie Stevans, Professor of Information Technology and Quantitative Methods at Hofstra University, compared the business formation and economic growth of right-to-work states with non-right-to-work states using recent data from the U.S. Small Business Administration. He controlled for variables like education levels, population changes, and type of employment in the states to accurately measure the relationship between right-to-work laws and economic growth.

Stevans found that a state’s right-to-work law:

Has no impact on economic growth
Has no influence on employment
Has no influence on business capital formation (the ratio of firm ‘births’ to the number of firms)
Is correlated with a decrease in wages
Stevan’s analysis of right-to-work states also yielded the following observations:

The average real state GDP growth rate of right-to-work states is not significantly different than non-right-to-work states
The average per capita income in right-to-work states is lower than in non-right-to-work states
Stevans concluded his analysis with the following observation:

“…From a state’s economic standpoint, being right-to-work yields little or no gain in employment and real economic growth.”


JOANNE MOORE's picture

Right to work ...for less.

With no benefits, sick time, paid holidays, etc., etc., etc.

The only economy this would help is the corporate bottom line..profits!

Just another right-wing ploy to destroy the middle class.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Are you suggesting that only

Are you suggesting that only union workers get sick time, holidays and other benefits?

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Certainly not.

But if you get rid of unions, see how fast other jobs deteriorate to compete with China and India. In a global economy it is a fast track downward for workers.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I'm not suggesting that we

I'm not suggesting that we get rid of unions, but that we recognize that they are not the panacea of job prosperity that they are made out to be. I know several people who have never belonged to unions and have made substantial incomes in the private sector; benefits and all. Negotiating with an employer one on one can often be far more effective than being among the minions who prefer to have other individuals (with their own agendas) do their negotiating for them, while having to pay a fee for the privilege.

 's picture

MHPC is a partisan joke.

Their studies are always one-sided, misleading, and defemseless.
National, independent studies confirm the obvious - the only statistically significant result of states adopting RTW laws is that workers are paid less and business owners make more income.
This is just another arrow in the Republican's quiver of measures to destroy the middle class and to enrich the 1%.

Jason Theriault's picture

This is stupid.

All this hullabaloo over unions. It's a load of BS. Only 6.9% of all private sector jobs are union. So this won't make a lick of difference in attracting new businesses.

Nope, what they are looking to do is cut into public sector jobs, to undercut them and weaken their position. 37% of public sector jobs are union. Scott, knock it off. Trying to make this off as a jobs bill is just wrong.


Mr. Moody, I hate to disagree

Mr. Moody, I hate to disagree with you but if you are with the Maine Heritage Policy Center one has to wonder what your agenda is. It seems MHPC does studies that create more problems then it solves.

RONALD RIML's picture

There's no "Wondering" to it....

As Scott Moody is employed by the Maine Heritage Policy Center - it is his job to be anti-union. A paid mouth-piece.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Such are the ways of a free

Such are the ways of a free press. Would you suggest censorship?

RONALD RIML's picture

This should be

A paid political announcement


Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...