Despite Obama’s Objections, Job Growth in RTW States Likely Aided His Reelection

Categories: 2014 Political Races


It’s no secret the Indiana Chamber supports right-to-work and was a driving force in its passage in Indiana. It’s also no secret that big labor and President Obama are not fans. However, an interesting blog from the National Institute for Labor Relations Research explains how right-to-work states have seen the bulk of job increases, and most likely helped inspire confidence in Obama’s economy during his reelection bid:

Exit polling conducted by the Associated Press indicates one important reason the President was able to win at all was that four in 10 voters believed the national economy was improving, while only three in 10 believed it was getting worse.

To convince voters things were getting better, the Obama campaign pointed to the millions of jobs that have been created since the recession officially ended in June 2009.  Household employment data for the 50 states and Washington, D.C., do show an overall net gain of 2.59 million jobs through this September.

Ironically, the bulk of the increase occurred in the 22 states that have had Right to Work laws on the books since June 2009. Their aggregate household employment grew by 1.86 million, or 3.4%.  (Since Indiana did not adopt its Right to Work law until this February, the 19,000 jobs it added are not included.) Because Right to Work laws protect employees from being fired for refusal to pay union dues or fees, Big Labor bosses hate them. And the union hierarchy’s massive, forced dues-fueled campaign support is the single most important reason the President was reelected.

At the same time, Right to Work states (again excluding Indiana) were responsible for 72% of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012 (see chart above).  If these states’ job increase had been no better than the 0.85% experienced by forced-unionism states as a group, the nationwide job increase would have been less than half as great. And the President wouldn’t have been able even to pretend the economy was in recovery.

During his first term, Barack Obama repeatedly expressed virulent opposition to Right to Work laws and enthusiastically supported “card-check” forced-unionism measures and other legislative and bureaucratic proposals designed to shove millions of additional workers under union control.  Fortunately, Right to Work proponents generally thwarted him.

Now a genuine national recovery depends on the President calling off his administration’s guerrilla attacks on Right to Work states for the next four years. Will Obama, his congressional allies, and his political appointees at last step aside and allow the 23 Right to Work states to serve as the bulwark of U.S. economic recovery? Or will they continue trying to deter employers and employees from setting up shop and expanding in Right to Work states?

Hat tip to our Political Affairs Coordinator Ryan McNicholas and the AEIdeas blog.

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