Monday, July 12, 2010

Dallas Morning News Editorial Writer Coined the Term "Right to Work" on Labor Day in 1941


Dallas Morning News editorial writer William Ruggles (pictured above) "thought every American had a right to work. He used those words in an editorial on September 1, 1941 (Labor Day) asking for a 22nd amendment to the U.S. Constitutional guaranteeing the right to work with or without union membership. In so doing, he coined a phrase and sparked a movement that would change the labor landscape in America," according to a recent story in the Dallas Morning News as part of its 125th anniversary celebration.   Here are some excerpts from the article:

“The answer seemed to me to be an amendment to the federal Constitution that would be so clear and unequivocal that no jurist could argue against its meaning,” Ruggles said later. Texas passed its right-to-work law in 1947.

Although that constitutional guarantee never materialized, 22 states enacted legislation patterned after the editorial. These laws prohibit agreements between trade unions and employers that make membership and payment of union dues or fees a requirement of employment even if the company is operating under union-negotiated bargaining agreements. 

Love them or hate them, economists, historians and lawyers agree that right-to-work laws were the leading factor in the Sun Belt’s success. “Economic growth in places like Georgia and Texas was driven by the combination of the right to work and the cost of labor,” says Al Niemi, dean of the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. “Since the right to work dictated the cost of labor, right to work was the single most important driver.”

HT: Jeff Perry

7 Comments:

At 7/12/2010 10:00 AM, Blogger Dr William J McKibbin said...

Nice!

 
At 7/12/2010 12:12 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Hmmm, a nice bit of history...

Are jobs for the federal government in the 'right to work' category?

Note though that the Dallas Morning News has falling circulation numbers...

 
At 7/12/2010 3:54 PM, Anonymous Benny The Man said...

Gee, and I thought Sunbelt growth was watered by an endless torrent of federal dollars.
This is great news! We can now install a federal system in which every state gets back from DC roughly the same amount of tax dollars sent.
Call it "State Tax Rights."
Why should some strong states subsidize weakling, knock-kneed states--for decades and decades?
And here is an editorial saying they don't need it!
Great!

 
At 7/12/2010 4:47 PM, Anonymous Benny The Man said...

BTW, the federal minimum age in 1955 was $1. That works our to $8.70 or so, in today's dollars.

The federal minimum wage today is $7.25.

Amazing! After 55 years of economic growth, and increased worker output per hour, the lowest-paid workers today in America make even less than in 1955.

We salute Mr. Ruggles--for he is victorious is his true agenda, lowering living standards for working Americans.

 
At 7/12/2010 11:36 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"We salute Mr. Ruggles--for he is victorious is his true agenda, lowering living standards for working Americans"...

Personally I think if you get paid even half of what today's minimum wage is for whatever it is you do, then you're stealing...

 
At 7/13/2010 9:58 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"We salute Mr. Ruggles--for he is victorious is his true agenda, lowering living standards for working Americans."

I keep wondering how Benji can call himself a True Economic Conservative, and a devotee of Milton Friedman? What bizarro world does Benji live in?

 
At 7/13/2010 10:02 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"This is great news! We can now install a federal system in which every state gets back from DC roughly the same amount of tax dollars sent.
Call it "State Tax Rights."

Benji, that's going to be even more difficult now that Obama is pushing a massive rural broadband initiative. I know he's a socialist, but is he now a Red State Socialist? I'm so confused, Benji!

 

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