by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The latest issue of Hillsdale College’s Imprimis features a speech from Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
While discussing the recent controversy surrounding Boeing’s new plant in right-to-work South Carolina, Mix offers the following:
Under a decades-old political compromise, federal labor policies promoting compulsory unionism persist side by side with the ability of states to curb such compulsion with right-to-work laws. So far, as I said, 22 states have done so. And when we compare and contrast the economic performance in these 22 states against the others, we find interesting things. For example, from 1999 to 2009 (the last such year for which data are available), the aggregate real all-industry GDP of the 22 right-to-work states grew by 24.2 percent, nearly 40 percent more than the gain registered by the other 28 states as a group.
Even more dramatic is the contrast if we look at personal income growth. From 2000 to 2010, real personal incomes grew by an average of 24.3 percent in the 22 right-to-work states, more than double the rate for the other 28 as a group. But the strongest indicator is the migration of young adults. In 2009, there were 20 percent more 25- to 34-year-olds in right-to-work states than in 1999. In the compulsory union states, the increase was only 3.3 percent—barely one-sixth as much.
In this context, the decision by Boeing to open a plant in South Carolina may be not only in its own best interest, but in ours as well.