Our Legislature is once again considering the so-called “Right To Work” law that special interests have been pushing for more than 40 years.
Those lobbyists will tell you that “everyone should have the right to work” – but the so-called “Right to Work” law has nothing to do with getting a job. Passing “Right to Work” will not magically make new companies appear out of thin air.
Governor Scott Walker forced a “Right to Work” law through the Wisconsin Legislature in March 2015 by promising that it would create tens of thousands of new jobs. Instead, Wisconsin ended up losing more than 10,000 jobs by the end of the year.
Just across Wisconsin’s border, Minnesota has a pro-worker, progressive agenda. Minnesota created more than 12,000 jobs just in the last quarter of 2015 and was ranked the “Top State for Business in 2015.”
So why should our legislators believe the lobbyists’ spin about “job creation?”
Those lobbyists are also spinning “Right to Work” laws as “freedom from greedy union bosses.” Are they talking about the same “greedy unions” who ushered in workplace safety regulations, vacation time, retirement benefits, and the weekend itself? If those lobbyists had their way, our manufacturing facilities would be filled with 12-year-olds working 14 hours a day, six days a week, for pennies a day.
The lobbyists are also spinning “Right to Work” as “giving workers the freedom to choose if they want to join a union or not.” But the truth is that it’s already illegal to force someone to join a union.
And employers are the ones who choose whether or not workers pay agency fees in exchange for benefits under the union contracts. “Right to Work” takes that choice away from private businesses and substitutes the Legislature’s “wisdom” instead. Earlier this year, several employers testified that they want to keep that right.
Nevermind the lobbyists’ spin about “employee freedom.” All “Right to Work” does is get in the way of businesses making their own decisions.
And restricting employers’ rights is not going to encourage businesses to move here.
New Hampshire already has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. (At the other end of the scale, seven of the top ten states ranked by unemployment are “Right to Work” states.)
During the last “Right to Work” hearing, employers testified about that, too. They are concerned that passing “Right to Work” will lower average wages – and discourage highly-skilled workers from moving to New Hampshire. Employers testified that there is already a severe shortage of the types of skilled workers they need – and passing “Right to Work” would make their problems worse.
Is our Legislature listening more closely to out-of-state lobbyists than to our local employers who came to our State House to testify against “Right to Work?”
The National Right To Work Committee spends more than $11 million a year lobbying state legislatures to pass “Right to Work.” But none of the lobbyists who testified this year could name a single company that would move to New Hampshire if the law was passed. All they could point to was one company which decided to build a new facility in North Carolina – after being promised more than $10 million in economic incentives to build there.
So what, exactly, would New Hampshire gain if our Legislature passes “Right to Work?”
And why would our legislators want to give the out-of-state lobbying groups a “win” at the expense of our state’s employers?