Non-Union States Have Better Workforces

In those American states where workers cannot be compelled to join a labor union, they generally do a better job.

This should come as no surprise to those of us who understand how free-market economics work.

The conservative blog RedState today links a study from CNBC that found that all 25 so-called “right to work” states in America belong to the top 25 states with the finest workforces.

In “right to work” states in the south and west of the country, which, politically, tend to be more conservative, workers cannot be compelled to join a labor union if they want to work in a certain industry. In the other states in the northeast and along the West Coast, this is the case. In those same areas, workers are generally less efficient and less educated than their counterparts in “right to work” states.

Indeed, education overall is better in “right to work” states. As RedState puts it, “it appears that those who receive their educations in forced union states get smart, pack up and leave, leaving the not so smart union extremists to invent myths about their own superiority while they pay their forced union dues.”

The reason is very simple. Although unions improve job security and pay and benefits, they undermine competition and make labor more expensive. In “right to work” states, there is a more competitive labor market and people have an incentive to work hard and excel. Whereas in heavily unionized professions, excellence is too often discouraged, in a free market, it pays off. Unions are prone to protecting people who underperform; employers reward people who do better.