Ron Paul: “Right to Work” Is Good for Business, Labor and Liberty

by Ron Paul

Many observers were surprised when Michigan, historically a stronghold of union power, became the nation’s 24th “Right to Work” state. The backlash from November’s unsuccessful attempt to pass a referendum forbidding the state from adopting a right to work law was a major factor in Michigan’s rejection of compulsory unionism. The need for drastic action to improve Michigan’s economy, which is suffering from years of big government policies, also influenced many Michigan legislators to support right to work.

Let us be clear: right to work laws simply prohibit coercion. They prevent states from forcing employers to operate as closed union shops, and thus they prevent unions from forcing individuals to join. In many cases right to work laws are the only remedy to federal laws which empower union bosses to impose union dues as a condition of employment.

Right to work laws do not prevent unions from bargaining collectively with employers, and they do not prevent individuals from forming or joining unions if they believe it will benefit them. Despite all the hype, right to work laws merely enforce the fundamental right to control one’s own labor.

States with right to work laws enjoy greater economic growth and a higher standard of living than states without such laws. According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, from 2001-2011 employment in right to work states grew by 2.4%, while employment in union states fell by 3.4%! During the same period wages rose by 12.5% in right to work states, while rising by a mere 3.1% in union states. Clearly, “Right to Work” is good for business and labor.

Workers are best served when union leaders have to earn their membership and dues by demonstrating the benefits they provide. Instead, unions use government influence and political patronage. The result is bad laws that force workers to subsidize unions and well-paid union bosses.

Of course government should not regulate internal union affairs, or interfere in labor disputes for the benefit of employers. Government should never forbid private-sector workers from striking. Employees should be free to join unions or not, and employers should be able to bargain with unions or not. Labor, like all goods and services, is best allocated by market forces rather than the heavy, restrictive hand of government. Voluntarism works.

Federal laws forcing employees to pay union dues as a condition of getting or keeping a job are blatantly unconstitutional. Furthermore, Congress does not have the moral authority to grant a private third party the right to interfere in private employment arrangements. No wonder polls report that 80 percent of the American people believe compulsory union laws need to be changed.

Unions’ dirty little secret is that real wages cannot rise unless productivity rises. American workers cannot improve their standard of living simply by bullying employers with union tactics. Instead, employers, employees, and unions must recognize that only market mechanisms can signal employment needs and wage levels in any industry. Profits or losses from capital investment are not illusions that can be overcome by laws or regulations; they are real-world signals that directly affect wages and employment opportunities. Union advocates can choose to ignore reality, but they cannot overcome the basic laws of economics.

As always, the principle of liberty will provide the most prosperous society possible. Right to work laws are a positive step toward economic liberty.



  • Well actually we are a constitutional Republic with some democratical systems, 🙂

  • Wow what a highly intelligent comment.

  • You are wrong this time Ron. Right to Work and the way it was passed was undemocratic and therefore unconstitutional. The elected government deceived the voters on the issue and passed it as soon as he was elected in to office.

    The 4 of the top 5 states that receive the most government funding are Right to Work states. The employees have lower wages, lower pensions and lower healthcare than other states.

    The free market does not work when it is monopolized by those who exploit it.

  • good analogy, i thought it was that you could join union and opt out of paying the union. I spose That viewpoint would be like how a waitor or waitress can force a minimum tip regaurdless of how they do their job.

  • Crediblemusic Cenk is actually pretty critical of Obama, and Cenk is openly progressive. This is far from brainwashing.

  • If you understand the Non-aggression principle, you will understand the bad elements of unions.

  • As far as I understand, the issue was not people being forced to join a union, rather it was about them being forced to pay union dues regardless of whether or not they wished to join a union. Union members said that their work benefits all the workers, thus all the workers should be forced to contribute. I don’t think that’s a valid argument. My neighbors benefit from me maintaining a beautiful lawn in front of my house, that doesn’t mean they should be forced to pay me for it.

  • If you get your news from TYT then you are being brainwashed by liberal propaganda. Cenk all over obama’s nuts.

  • i have heard contradicting information from the young turks saying that forcing people to join unions was already illigal, states that have right to work have increased government handouts, and that the bill was forced by big buissinesses looking to opress employers. I knownot where the truth lies but hopefully I can figure it out before this bill is brought to Wisconsin.

  • Ron Paul would be president if we had a real republic.

  • i have to change the UNION pipe from my toilet bowl to the septic tank :-). so i can keep shitting..rofl..i so poor i can` pay attention. rofl. RON POOOp

  • Remmember acording to dr. Paul , they call the bill exactly the opposite of what it is the patriot act is not patriotic , and right to work is not right to work .

  • Today, Bradley Manning turns 25. Let Bradley know just how much it means to all of us, throughout the world, that we have the truth about these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan provided through WikiLeaks. Send him a card or a letter

    Commander, HHC USAG
    Attn: PFC Bradley Manning
    239 Sheridan Ave, Bldg 417
    JBM-HH, VA 22211

  • Too bad you son unconditionally favors GOP


  • I’m just glad that I made it out to see Ron Paul speak when he came to Maryland. They had to turn thousands of people away because their was no more room. I really hope that it wasn’t the last speech that I will see.


  • God Bless you, SIr.

  • This is so true, from the man of truth !!!!