Democrats love to talk about rights. They say people have the “right to affordable health care,” the “right to a debt free college education,” the “right to choose,” and so on.
But there’s one right they apparently want to erase: The right to work.
Here’s how Hillary Clinton put it in a videoconference this week at the Laborers’ International Union of North America: “I will fight back against so-called right to work. Right to work is wrong for workers and wrong for America.”
Come again? The right to work is wrong for America?
Clinton is referring to state right-to-work laws that give employees the right to work without being forced to join a union. In states without these laws, unions can force new and existing employees to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment at unionized companies.
Right to work has become increasingly popular. In fact, 26 states now have right-to-work laws on their books. And among the most recent to join this movement were Michigan and Wisconsin — two Midwest industrial states Hillary needs to win election.
As it stands, almost half of the nation’s population now lives in right-to-work states, and the majority of manufacturing jobs are located in these states.
There are good reasons for this trend.
When Wisconsin was on the cusp of passing its right-to-work law last year, Gov. Scott Walker said that “This isn’t anti-union. It restores worker rights and brings jobs back to Wisconsin.”
He’s right about that last part. Between 2004 and 2014, overall job growth in the U.S. was 6.1%. In states without right-to-work laws, it was a paltry 3.9%. But in right-to-work states, job growth over those years was 9.1%.
What’s more, people are voting with their feet by moving into right-to-work states, which saw their populations climb at twice the rate as forced-union states from 2004 to 2014. And while Clinton would argue that right-to-work laws depress wages, family incomes climbed faster in right-to-work states over these years.
Not only that, but a study published in the Cato Journal found that productivity in non-right-to-work states was just 57% — to 64% of right-to-work states.
These facts raise a question: If Hillary Clinton is so interested in creating good jobs, why in the world would she be attacking an idea that is growing in popularity and has clearly resulted in the creation of more good jobs?
The answer, of course, is that she and her fellow Democrats are beholden to unions for massive amounts of political donations, and so have no other choice but to toe the union line. Plus, the more people Democrats can force to pay union dues, the more money will end up in their campaign coffers. In other words, what Clinton and her union backers want is the right to rip off workers to get more Democrats elected.
In that same video, Clinton asks her union friends “why aren’t I 50 points ahead (of Donald Trump)?” Maybe it’s because workers have figured out this union shell game.
- Merline is deputy editor of the Commentary and Editorial Pages at IBD.
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View more information: https://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/hillary-clinton-declares-war-on-the-right-to-work/