Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Right-to-Work' Is a Great Slogan, but It's Deceptive

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Right-to-Work' Is a Great Slogan, but It's Deceptive

Article excerpt

In the commentary "Right-to-work makes wages higher, workers freer" (Oct. 27), author F. Vincent Vernuccio cherry-picked his way through some statistics trying to put a positive face on how zippy things are wages, growth, jobs for everyone in the right-to-work states.

People often quote Mark Twain on the subject: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." Just as interesting to me is the first half of Twain's quote: "Figures often beguile me, particularly when I arrange them myself."

Companies want a place where they can easily do business. People want good salaries from companies so they can support and raise their families. Unions want to be able to help their members.

What we've learned in our own research is that consultants helping companies select new business sites are far more concerned about having a well-trained work force, good infrastructure and education. Missouri already offers what businesses need. Whether a state has a right-to-work law is not even in their top 10 decision- making criteria.

Relative to workers, Bureau of Labor Statistics data clearly show that things aren't better for people in right-to-work states, where they have lower rates of health insurance coverage, higher poverty levels, higher infant mortality rates, lower investment in education and more workplace deaths. Who would want that for Missouri?

Workers do less well in right-to-work states, and the pay gap between men and women is larger. There are fewer quality jobs. In worker-friendly states, people earn an average of $117.48 more per week. That's $6,109 a year more. Vernuccio proudly brags that West Virginia, a new right-to-work state, saw wages go up $6.36 a week since right-to-work passed. Woo hoo.

Looking at total household incomes, in worker-friendly states a family's median household income is $157.19 more per week. That's $8,174 more a year. Of the 20 states with the lowest median household incomes, 65 percent are right-to-work states. …

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