|Dr Gordon Lafer
talks to local NH workers
on RTW. (credit Matt Murray)
By Matt Murray
On Feb 16, New Hampshire Public Radio’s “The Exchange” hosted a debate on Right To Work. The program, which lasted about an hour was “all over the map” when it came to issues surrounding Right To Work. The Exchange interviewed, labor economist Dr. Gordon Lafer, Mark Guarino Staff Writer for The Christian Science Monitor, and the newsletter Editor for the National Right to Work Committee Stan Greer.
While it was obvious that everyone on the program was pushing an agenda it was also obvious that everything we have been hearing from proponents here in NH on RTW is wrong. I will give three reasons why.
1) Right To Work creates jobs! This is simply not true. Gordon Lafer said over an over that there is no evidence that RTW alone creates jobs. Dr Lafer cited his recently published work (Right To Work: A Failed Policy) that showed among many other things that in “Oklahoma manufacturing jobs went down by nearly a third”. Dr Lafer said this decine was more attributed to NAFTA and the global economy. In a surprising statement from Stan Greer, he said “RTW is about liberty, it is not primarily a job attraction tool”. Greer even admitted that in “Oklahoma manufacturing went down since RTW”, just not as much as Dr Lafer stated. The reason this was surprising was that Mark Guarino talked extensively on how the RTW push in Indiana was the claim it would boost jobs.
2) Businesses are not moving to NH because they do not have a RTW law. Another lie from the National RTW Committee. Since 2001 when Oklahoma was pushing RTW, proponents have been saying that if you pass a RTW businesses will move in to Oklahoma. Here in NH we have been hearing the same thing. Dr Lafer disproved this with articles from the both the Area Development Magazin and the 2010 State New Economy Index. Both poll businesses about the reasons they move into a new location. According to Lafer, “the State Economy Index publishes the top 26 reason for a company to choose a location, and RTW did not even make the top 26”.
3) Right to Work will strengthen New Hampshires economy. Again there is no proof of this. The National RTW committee talks about Oklahoma and the jobs they created yet, they have a higher unemployment rate than NH. Actually Dr Lafer pointed out that “NH’s economy was not just better than the average of the RTW States, NH is actually better that almost all of the RTW states”. What RTW does do is lower wages. This is actually why RTW proponents say it will create a more “business friendly environment”. So while Dr Lafer and Mr Guarino both agreed that RTW has been pushed as a “Job Creator” in Indiana and NH, Mr Greer insisted that it was about “Liberty”.
So if you think that lower wages, higher poverty, and no new jobs, then pass Right To Work. If you think that New Hampshire is doing better than almost every other state in the country then you should Oppose Right To Work in NH.
There was much more in this hour long interview and you can listen to it completely on the NHPR website.