Tuesday, January 13, 2009

RTW States Gain, Forced Union States Lose in '08

According to United Van Lines' 2008 Migration Study (raw data here), there were nine states with high outbound shipments (MI, ND, NJ, PA, RI, IL, IN, ME, and NY) in 2008, and seven states with high inbound shipments (NV, NC, AL, WY, SD, SC and OR). What do these two groups of states have in common?

At first glance (and I admit this is not based on a statistical test or a scientific study), we can see that 8 out of 9 states (all except ND) with high outbound shipments are Forced-Unionism states, and 6 out of 7 states (all except OR) with high inbound shipments are Right to Work states (see map above from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation).

Assuming that household migration is largely based on Americans moving from states with declining or poor job opportunities to states with better job opportunities, one could argue that the states with the best employment opportunities are currently in RTW states.


At 1/13/2009 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shouldn’t a neutral assessment use less slanted terminology? Everyone wants a “right” to do something and no one wants to be “forced” to do anything. There’s legally no such thing as ANYONE being forced to join a union in any state.

“Under Federal law, employees cannot be required to join a union or maintain membership in a union to retain their jobs.” (Source: NLRB)

At 1/13/2009 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walt G-

In non-Right to Work states employees car be (and normally are) forced to pay money to the union just to get or keep a job.

Non requiring "membership" is pretty meaningless, if you're still required to pay money to support it.

Imagine if a church you didn't want anything to do with could require you to pay $20 a month. Would make it matter that you weren't required to be a church member?

The phrasing seems perfectly accurate to me.

At 1/13/2009 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


So, you think you should go to the church and use all the amenities without paying for them? Isn't that called a "free rider?" Let's call it Free Rider states and Forced Union states then to make it equally euphemistic and biased.

At 1/13/2009 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walt G- Since I am forced by law to attend the church and use whatever amenities it chooses to offer - whether I like those amenities or would rather live without them entirely - then the least you can do is not force me to pay for them.

At 1/13/2009 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What law forces you to go to a church or work for a unionized employer?

At 1/13/2009 12:02 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

interesting metaphor considering the fact that tithing is voluntary at the churches I have been to.

I might be more sympathetic to unions if it weren't for the stories I've heard about intimidation tactics, etc. And I really don't like the bill currently under review that would ban secret balloting - who's funding the campaign for that I wonder?

At 1/13/2009 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You don't like "free choice" to join a union?

Why wouldn't anyone who wants a "right to work" not want "free choice?"

At 1/13/2009 1:34 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

I believe "Right to Work" is an accurate term. It is just an abridged version of what is implied under the RTW moniker such as:

1. Right to work without being forced to pay dues for Union membership (along with the right to refuse all of the wonderful "benefits" those union dues purchase)
2. Right to work in good conscience without feeling as though I am extorting my employer and fellow employees to get something more than what is rightfully mine.
3. Right to work a fair day's work for a fair day's pay...nothing more and nothing less.
4. Right to work without all of the cumbersome work rules that prevent me from doing my job without first going through several layers of bureucracy.

There are others, I'm sure, but these "Rights to Work" are the ones that come immediately to mind.

At 1/13/2009 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a few that come to my mind:

Right to get fired because they want to hire the boss' son.

Right to be mistreated because one person does not have any power.

Right to get hurt because federal safety rules protect the companies' profits with more zeal than workers' safety.

At 1/13/2009 1:56 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

I'm a southerner and I can assure you that the reason that Unions are not prevalent in the South isn't because Southerners are too stupid to know what's good for them. It might be pride, work ethic, or just an aversion to have some third party act as a "nanny" for us. Unions are just frowned on and mistrusted...in my opinion, for good reason.

I'd love to see the stats on the number of qualified non-union employees who have been bumped from their job to make way for the boss's son. I doubt any exist. If we are relying on anecdotal evidence, I can certainly cite you plenty of instances of nepotism within GM and other union shops. I would also like to see current statistics that illustrate the superior safety records of union vs. non-union work places.

At 1/13/2009 2:17 PM, Blogger LoneSnark said...

"What law forces you to go to a church or work for a unionized employer?"
If I am an auto-worker and I live in Michigan then the law says I must work for a unionized employer. Now, there is no law that says I must live in Michigan, hence the original post.

If I am mistreated by Toyota I can seek employment at Honda. However, once you are 'refused' by the UAW from Ford, you cannot seek employment at GM.

At 1/13/2009 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would you seek work at GM if you don't want a unionized job? Only about 12% of the U.S. workforce is unionized, so your chances of being able to find non-union work in your chosen field are quite high. And even if you do find yourself working in a place with a union, you can opt out using your Beck rights.

At 1/13/2009 2:43 PM, Blogger LoneSnark said...

Because I am an autoworker living in Detroit and GM is hiring. However, as the UAW refused me from Ford they are going to refuse me from GM to make way for the union bosses son.

And my beck rights only allow me to opt out of political party funding. It does not allow me to opt out of paying for million dollar parties for the union bosses.

At 1/13/2009 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The UAW does not hire people at GM. When you hire in, you are non-union for 90 days.

The UAW can question skilled trades' credentials, but only after they are hired.

At 1/13/2009 2:53 PM, Blogger LoneSnark said...

But my main objection is not the unions arbitrariness, as you get that at most companies anyway, as you have pointed out.

My biggest complaint is on a macro-economic scale. The presence of a unionized workforce drives up the wages of union members by driving down the wages of the non-union members of society. The method is as such:

1) the United Auto Workers unionized the whole auto industry (they have not, hence bankruptcy, but if they did) and force up the compensation of their members.
2) the auto companies, faced with higher worker compensation, put more efforts into cutting the number of workers by investing in more robots than they otherwise would.
3) Instead of employing X workers at the lower wages, the auto industry only employs Y workers.
4) the (X-Y) workers thus refused auto work must seek employment in the remaining non-union sectors of the economy, bidding down wages in these sectors until sufficient jobs are created at a wage lower than otherwise would exist.

As such, the greater the proportion of workers unionized the lower non-union wages will be pushed.

At 1/13/2009 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As such, the greater the proportion of workers unionized the lower non-union wages will be pushed."
An argument could be made that union push wages up. What do you suppose the wages at the Southern transplants would be without a UAW threat? There are usually two distinct strategies used to deter workers from voting for unions: 1) pay the employees well and treat them good, and 2) employ professional union busters to deter workers from voting for a union.
The non-unionized workers in the South can be considered free riders. Maybe they should pay UAW union dues?

At 1/13/2009 5:14 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

"What do you suppose the wages at the Southern transplants would be without a UAW threat?"

So we should endorse an unsustainable business model to prop up wages somewhere else? (Assuming your argument is valid, which I do not since it ignores other factors in the market place such as demand/supply of competitors, the job market across all sectors, etc.). Walt, your arguments are usually level headed, logic, and better thought out. I think your passions are clouding your ability to debate.

At 1/14/2009 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You’re correct, NoWhining,

We usually reason from the context that we are in, but I have also worked non-union jobs most of my life (I have two now). My wages for those jobs are also higher because of where I live.

It is possible to have higher wages and still be competitive if workers’ efficiency improves. High compensation does not necessarily mean high total labor costs. Future labor costs need to be projected and accounted for when times are good. I save for retirement when income will decrease (at least I try), so business needs to do the same.

Work smarter—not harder.

At 1/14/2009 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Illinois was a right to work state?


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