If constant media brainwashing has taught me anything, it’s that if there’s violence, then the Tea Party is to blame. That’s why I was so shocked to hear of violence at the union protests in Lansing, Michigan this past week.
Steven Crowder, a Fox News contributor, was punched repeatedly in the face while interviewing union protesters. The conservative organization Americans For Prosperity had their tent torn down by protesters. People were still inside as the mob knocked it down. Local hot dog vendor, Clint Tarver, had his set up attacked by protesters who flung racial slurs at him.
Now in reality the idea of violence from the left isn’t anything shocking. In fact, earlier this year I documented the left’s violent trends: from Occupy Wall Street, to presidential assassinations, to similar union mob assaults on black conservatives.
But I digress. There’s something to be said for what the Lansing mob was trying to hide by their violence: right-to-work legislation is a fantastic choice for states to make.
Right-to-work states are able to attract businesses (i.e. rich people, the 1%, etc.) and that leads to increased investment in the state. States plagued with union activity often perform less impressive economically for the very reason that “[u]nionized firms earn lower profits, invest less, and create fewer jobs than comparable nonunion firms.” Investors look for right-to-work states before trying to create jobs. Ask yourself why Boeing decided to build in South Carolina instead of Washington State.
Right-to-work states consistently see lower unemployment than other union-dominated states. Last year, the difference in unemployment was between nearly 10% in states without right-to-work laws and 9.2% in states with them. When comparing counties along the borders of states (one right-to-work, the other non-right-to-work), University of Minnesota economist, Thomas J. Holmes, found manufacturing jobs one-third higher in the county with right-to-work laws.
It’s often touted as gospel how much higher the wages are in union states. For a couple reasons, this shouldn’t matter all that much. Democrat-controlled states institute liberal policies, including the manipulation of wages earned. Artificially raising wages through these liberal policies have never truly benefited any group, including the poor (read more on this here). Also, the standard of living is often much higher in these states. Last year I had a job that payed about a dollar above the minimum wage. I was making more than most people in the entire country with minimum-wage-level occupations. Oh, and by the way, I live in the economic wasteland of California. Californians and other blue state residents are fleeing en masse for more business friendly states (I hear Michigan is lovely this time of year).
Finally, if unions are so great, why does participation drop so heavily when it’s no longer mandatory? When Idaho and Oklahoma passed right-to-work laws, participation in unions fell 15%. Union members are forced to contribute financially to the unions (AKA the Democratic Party) even when they don’t fall in line with their political views. Another group that chooses to opt out of union participation when able are the highly educated (go figure).
We’re now getting down to the crux of the argument. Why force people to associate with others and contribute a portion of their paycheck to them in order to keep their job? This is what the unions fear most. When they no longer receive compulsory payments from their victims, they lose political clout to elect Democrats who work to protect and serve … unions.
If people don’t want to participate in union activity, they shouldn’t have to. If they do, then let them. Though it seems quite odd that union advocates are so assured of their popularity in the workforce and yet so willing to beat up on the ones who dissent.
Keith Fierro | Cal State Fullerton | @KJFierro