This is in response to a Sun Journal story (May 7) on the front page. The article ignored those statistics on right-to-work states that do not support the premise of the story — that Gov. Paul LePage misused figures about right-to-work states. Gov. LePage has asked people to do their own homework on right-to-work states versus forced unionism states.

I have found several interesting facts.

Gary Casteel, United Auto Workers director explains “To me, (right-to-work) helps (unions.) You don’t have to belong if you don’t want to. So if I go on an organizing drive, I can tell these workers, ‘if you don’t like this arrangement, you don’t have to belong’, versus, ‘if we get 50 percent of you then all of you have to belong, whether you like it or not.'”

The right of workers to unionize is guaranteed in right-to-work states. Actually, there are currently 4.4 million union workers in the 24 right-to-work states. The Sun Journal story proved the point that the choice of whether or not to join unions does not necessarily weaken them — “And while Alabama is a right-to-work state, it is also a state where unions thrive, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

There is no “free ride” when it comes to union negotiations. The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the National Labor Relations Act allows unions to only negotiate for dues-paying members. Non-union workers are not covered in these negotiations, and must make their own agreements with employers.

The Sun Journal pointed out that Texas, Florida and Louisiana have higher per capita incomes than Maine, but that many right-to-work states are lower. That is misleading because the vast majority of right-to-work states have a much lower cost of living than forced-union states. States with voluntary union dues have no lower and possibly slightly higher real wages, based on purchasing power.


Recent Gallup polls show that Americans support right-to-work freedoms by a 71 percent to 22 percent margin. Polling also shows that union members prefer voluntary dues over mandatory dues by an 80 percent to 17 percent margin.

Early in March of this year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed private sector employment in right-to-work states was 68 percent higher than employment in forced-union states during the past decade and, during that same period, eight of the bottom 10 states with the lowest employment increases were forced-union states.

Gov. LePage asked everyone to do their own research on forced unionism versus right-to-choose statistics. To me, it is very obvious that more economic growth and job opportunities are found in those states that give workers the freedom to choose for themselves.

George Mathews, Auburn

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