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Workplace Freedom Myths Busted

Workplace Freedom Myths Busted

December 04, 2012

MYTH #1: Workplace Freedom, or right to work, would ban collective bargaining

FACT: Michigan workers would still have the freedom to join unions of their choosing, collectively bargain and go on strike, a right afforded them by the federal National Labor Relations Act. Right-to-work simply ensures that no worker can be fired for choosing not to pay union dues.

MYTH #2: Workplace Freedom laws are unfair because they let workers benefit from union representation without paying union dues

FACT: Under the federal National Labor Relations Act, union workers are prohibited from finding other representation, even if they want to opt out of representation. Federal lawmakers, not state lawmakers, should change the law so that workers can opt out of union representation if they choose to do so.

MYTH #3: Workers in right-to-work states make less money than those in forced unionization states

FACT: In addition to higher job growth, workers in the 23 right-to-work states have on average lower cost of living and more disposable income ($35,543) than those in forced unionization states ($33,389).i

MYTH #4: Workplace Freedom will kill jobs

FACT: Since 2009, states with right-to-work laws have created four times as many jobs as forced unionization states. Between 1999 and 2009, non-farm private sector employment grew 3.7% in right-to-work states, but decreased 2.8% in forced unionization states. From 2000 to 2008, manufacturing increased by 20.9% in right-to-work states, but only 6.5% in forced unionization states.ii

MYTH #5: Unionized workers voted for the union that represents them

FACT: No state or federal law currently requires unions to hold recertification votes. Only around 7% of unionized workers voted for the union that represents them.iii In other words, they inherited a union that previous generations of workers voted to certify.


i. Unions: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, March 2011
ii. Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Census Bureau
iii. Unelected Unions, James Sherk, The Heritage Foundation, August 2012

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