Fact: Unions hurt the economy

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A recently-released study [1] shows just how bad labor unions – especially forced unionization – are for the economy. The auto industry specifically has benefited in recent years from moving away from the kind of coercive union membership days of the past.

According to the National Institute of Labor Relations Research, there were 22 right-to-work states in the U.S. between 2002 and 2012. Those states saw a huge boost of auto manufacturing output.

But more shocking was the disparity in real manufacturing GDP between right-to-work and forced-unionism states. In states that allowed employees to work without joining a union, GDP grew by 87 percent, yet fell by two percent in union states. That’s not just a coincidence.

Another think tank – the Competitive Enterprise Institute – also just released a study [2] on labor unions with similar findings. Economically speaking, those living in right-to-work states benefited more, over time, than those living in union states; significantly more. They experienced much more job growth, earned higher wages, and saw a much higher net population growth.

With findings like these, it’s downright confusing that anyone would fight for unions anymore. Unfortunately for the left, it’s not about economics; it never has been. It’s about politics – amassing, growing and leveraging political power to the benefit of the union bosses.

In December 2012, President Obama spoke to a crowd [3] of union members. “What we shouldn’t be doing,” said Obama, “is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions.”

“You know these so-called right to work laws,” he added. “They don’t have anything to do with economics; they have everything to do with politics.”

Turns out Obama got it backwards. Almost a dozen states experimented with right-to-work laws over a ten-year period and the verdicts are in. At every turn, the results point away from coerced unionization and towards freer markets.

Those who ignore that are choosing to pick politics over economics. They do so at their own peril.