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Idea of the Day: ‘Right-to-Work’ Laws Harm Unions and the Economy

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The passage of so-called right-to-work legislation in Michigan fails to take into consideration the real impact unions have on both states’ and the nation’s economies and on middle-class Americans. “Right-to-work” laws weaken unions by making them provide services to union and nonunion members alike, without making all beneficiaries pay their fair share. By severely weakening unions, which are vital to strengthening the middle class and improving the economy, “right-to-work” laws have broad negative consequences.

Here are the key facts you need to know about unions’ value for the economy and the middle class.

  • Unionization increases income—not just for union workers but also for the entire middle class.
  • In non-“right-to-work” states, workers are more likely to receive employer-provided health insurance and pensions.
  • Unions improve workplace policies and have beneficial policy effects more broadly.
  • Unions balance structures of power in the workplace, resulting in greater efficiency.
  • “Right-to-work” legislation fails to grow state economies.
  • Unions strengthen businesses and the economically vital middle class by giving workers a voice in both the workplace and our democracy.

For more on this topic, please see:

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Legal Progress, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 

This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here