‘Freedom’ and other right-to-work lies

Wisconsin’s new right-to-work law is taking the state’s working families in the wrong direction: The typical worker in a right-to-work state makes about $1,560 less per year than she would in a state without such a law. The rate of employer-sponsored health insurance is 2.6 percentage points lower in right-to-work states. The rate of employer-sponsored pensions is 4.8 percentage points lower in right-to-work states.

Even workplace safety is affected, research shows. The rate of worker fatalities in construction is 34% higher in right-to-work states than in non-right-to-work states. In sum, workers, their families and states’ economies fare worse in right-to-work states. For all these reasons, it is not surprising that a majority of Americans support labor unions, according to a new Gallup poll.

Yet Wisconsin, under the leadership of Gov. Scott Walker, became the latest state to adopt such a law last spring. While it is too early to measure the effects of right-to-work on the state, the new law promises to harm the already hurting middle class.

The above excerpt was originally published in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.