Another sticky issue facing Evansville and Indiana, is a bill called Right-to-work. If passed, would be a law that would make it illegal to force employees to pay union dues and other fees, conditional upon employment. Indiana has some strong arguments on both sides to such a law, thankfully we wouldn’t be the first state to take the plunge, currently there are 22 other states that are Right-To-Work. Let’s look at how the law has affected their economy and employment opportunities.
As of December 2011, the number 2 state for lowest unemployment rate would be Nebraska, who has a Right-To-Work law. So, if a state that can boast an unemployment rate of just 4.1%, has a Right-to Work law, and 6 of the Top 10 States with the lowest unemployment rate are right-to-work, why not Indiana? It’s not as detrimental to the economy as opponents would like you to believe. At the same time, Indiana has twice the unemployment, setting at 9%, but can this be attributed even in part to a lack of right-to-work law?
[quote type=”center”]Indiana has twice the unemployment, setting at 9%, but can this be attributed, even in part, to a lack of right-to-work law?[/quote]
Opponents to the Right-To-Work law insist that it will create a free rider problem, allowing employees to benefit from the unions negotiations, without contributing. Such arguments even go so far as to insist that work conditions are lowered and a worker becomes endangered. Unfortunately no statistics could be found that indicate such an accusation, which is prohibitive in any kind of intellectual conversation. Perhaps this is a factor holding unions back from properly expressing their problems with passing a right-to-work law.
Factually speaking, one study did find that there are some negative effects to income levels and benefits in states that do not have a right-to-work law. For example, the think tank Economic Policy Institute found that wages are on average 3.2% lower for full time employees. In addition, there is a 2.6% lower chance that employers will offer health insurance benefits. These are measurable figures, taken from 2009 and 2010 census reports, that can be found in a February 2011 EPI publication.
Higher Wages or Lower Unemployment
I argue that the decision to pass a Right-to-Work Law in Indiana should focus on whether it is more important for residents to have slightly higher wages or a drastically lower unemployment rate? Shouldn’t considerable time be spent educating the importance of a lower unemployment rate, rather than slightly improving our average salaries for full time employees? In regards to benefits, doesn’t higher competition in the work force, through lower unemployment, stress that employers offer benefits to compete for jobs?
In closing, I stress and encourage the House to pass the Right-To-Work Bill in Indiana. We all benefit from lowered unemployment and the proof can be found in any of the other 22 States that already have this protection in place. Let’s not let the opposition hang their hat on uncertainties and accusations that cannot be proven.
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