Does it makes sense that the United Auto Workers (UAW) is tapping into its $800-million strike fund to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to force foreign automakers to unionize? Does it make sense that the Obama administration is allowing 45,000 federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers to unionize?
Workers at BMW in Spartanburg, South Carolina, certainly don’t want to be unionized, and now thanks to a unionized TSA, you will no doubt need to wait in longer lines for a cringe-worthy Fourth Amendment–infringing pat-down or body scan. Does it make sense that in the land of the free, the majority of our states are forced-union states? It doesn’t.
BMW’s 30-second commercial spot during the Super Bowl on Sunday was a direct shot at the UAW and a salute to workers in right-to-work (RTW), or non-forced-union, states like South Carolina. With a record 111 million viewers tuned in to the game, this ad put the small town of Spartanburg on the map. I wonder if President Obama got the message. He must have been paying attention, since he told Bill O’Reilly in their interview that once the game starts, he doesn’t want anyone “chittering or chattering” in his ear. But in case someone was, here is an excerpt from the ad (with my comments in brackets):
Does it make sense that in the height of the recession, when most companies were bailing out [or being bailed out, like GM and Chrysler] that they would dig in [and not wipe out their shareholders like GM did]?… Does it make sense that a small town in the South [population 45,000] can make every X3 in the world [and pay wages competitive or superior to union wages]?… It makes perfect sense [without the bloodsucking UAW at our throats]. [BMW], Designed in America. Built in America.
Indiana could become the 23rd RTW state. According to the Chamber of Commerce, the people of Indiana want to become a RTW state by a margin of three to one. It’s concerning to me that governor and probable presidential hopeful Mitch Daniels told the Indianapolis Star that RTW “may be worth a look” but added that it “is not on my agenda.” Isn’t now the time to stand up against unions, Mr. Daniels, and not play both sides of the aisle?
Shockingly, New Hampshire and Maine are introducing new RTW legislation. Thanks to the midterm elections, Republicans in Maine, like Indiana, control the legislature and the governor’s office. Georgia, Missouri, Michigan, and several other states are joining the fight to stand up against unions too. The numbers don’t lie; Dr. Richard Vedder, an Ohio University economist, and his colleagues report in their study Right-to-Work and Indiana’s Economic Future the following statistics during the 31-year period from 1977 to 2008:
- Per-capita income growth: RTW states, 62.3%; United States average, 54.7%; non-RTW states, 52.8%; Indiana, 37.2%
- Growth in real personal income: RTW states, 164.4%; U.S. average, 114.2%; non-RTW states, 92.8%; Indiana, 62%
- Employment growth: RTW states, 100%; U.S. average, 71%; non-RTW states, 56.5%; Indiana, 42.8%
Tom Carpenter of IBEW 1837, which serves union members in New Hampshire and Maine, gives this garbage advice to fellow union members: “Having traveled extensively around the country, and visited right-to-work states like South Carolina, I’ve seen that people in those states are paid less. They have a lower standard of living, and their communities suffer as a result.” Obviously he didn’t go to Spartanburg or do any serious research into RTW states around the country. For example, The Standard of Living in Right to Work States from the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR) points to an adjusted household income study by James T. Bennett that found, on average, that it cost 15% more to live in a forced-union state than it did in a RTW state.
At the federal level, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), specifically Section 7, has been gutted by Congress and abused for the last 75 years. In it, Congress says that employees shall have full freedom to refrain from joining a union, except “to the extent that such a right may be affected by an agreement requiring union membership as a condition of employment.” Strip this wording from the NLRA and no one in America can be forced to join a union as a condition for employment.
Based on the recently released Census 2010, it seems workers want freedom, with RTW Texas gaining four U.S. House seats, RTW Florida adding two, and five other RTW states—Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, and Utah—picking up one seat apiece. In 1968, 162 of the 270 electoral votes needed to become president came from RTW states. In 2000, 195 came from RTW states, and in 2012, 220 electoral votes will come from RTW states—potentially the deciding factor in voting President Obama out in 2012.
Whether you work for BMW, fly Delta or American, or live in a RTW state, you may ask yourself, “Does it make sense to fight the unions at every level?” If you work for BMW or drive one of its cars, stand in the painfully long pat-down lines at airports, live in a RTW state, or love your freedom, then you know: It does.