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.


  • the right to work is nothing more then right to work for less this is attack on const RON NO one individual can or ever could make his or her contract with any employer YOU ARE DEAD WRONG in this your attack is on Davis bacon act due to scale set wages RON is right about many things here he join the party line and makes no since what so ever NO citizen can Nogo his job benefit plan what you have here is employers with title and now control to have no union the reason federal law allows union is because if up to employer they would not and pays would decline and this is really your plan due to punishing the very people you work for

  • Did you even listen to the video? Lol please stop typing, you’re making me dumber.

  • I’m really confused because I keep hearing different definitions, and hopefully someone can clear this up for me. When I look at Wikipedia, it says right to work laws outlaw specific contracts, those made between unions and employers which say that all employees must join a union and pay union dues. When I see this definition, it seems to me that right to work laws are clearly not libertarian, outlawing voluntary agreements between employers and unions. Paul’s definition seems different though.

  • JennieWalsh

    Satanic organized crime controls and makes Big Buck$ off of the unions. Satanic organized crime controls and makes Big Buck$ off of the oval office.
    Since organized crime owns and controls most of the corporations and most of the American government, the people find themselves between the frying pan and the fire.
    SEE: ———- to see where taxpayer money goes, to see the lie of the “national debt”, to see the lie of the “fiscal cliff”. The American people are being had and lied to, Big Time.

    Thank you, Ron Paul, for all of your wonderful work and efforts in awakening the American people and people throughout the world to Freedom, Truth, Justice, Common Sense and Principles of Prosperity. You have made a TREMENDOUS difference in America and throughout the entire world. You have made giant steps in uniting the world in love, truth and peace. I regard your presidential campaign as a HUGE SUCCESS! I pray that many others will follow in your huge footsteps. Best wishes on your college speaking tours. I pray that your work will be Divinely supercharged, enhanced, expanded, maximized, magnified, multiplied, intensified, amplified, doubled each and every hour, empowered, strengthened, guided, directed, protected, defended and reinforced by all the Powers of Heaven. God Bless You, Forever, Ron Paul.

  • The study of unintended consequences.

  • With those same so called robber barons came the greatest outpouring of charity our nation has ever seen. Colleges were created along with museums the red cross salvation army and many others. Once again it shows that when individuals are free to pursue activities that would seem to only benefit themselves they actually benefit society as a whole. It is government intervention and special interest groups that take away from some to give to others. People need to realize the real goal of economic

  • Yeah the Americans with brains.

  • Hitler was a national socialist fascist.

  • There is no such thing as robber barons it silliness of 19th century. You have to work hard to produce service/products and to please customers in order to stay in business. Steve Jobs created wealth for this country. People lives have improved because of innovation. There is no such thing as robber baron crimes. You can do the same with hard work.

  • ron paul would never be president because he has a cult following at best

  • did you just use the term “socialist” and “fascist” in the same description?

    wow, youre fuckin dumber than i thought

  • “ONE of the robber barons”

    well shit, i guess since one saved a bunch of whales, that absolves the crimes of all the others

  • i see you never watched the young turks

    you should stop by some time

  • what a bunch of shit

    all RTW does is grind down union even more

    you know, the same unions that gave you 40 hour work weeks and sundays off

    the same unions that fought for free agency in sports, the same unions that fought (and in some cases died) for better working conditions

    just piss it all away because “muh freedum”

  • I’m open to you siting some proof. I admit to not having read the new law or which laws the new one has nullified but feel free to make your case.

  • so someone who is working class is an idiot but you say your for the people wow do you even see how hypocritical you are?

  • We disagree on that. There no such thing as robber barons. One of your robber barons saved the whales. He made oil cheap enough for people to read at night. I believe your the 99% that don’t understand economics. The constitution regulates all things. I don’t believe that there is place for government to regulate. By the time the government created Osha there was less accidents happening at the workplace. A Marxist is person that believes in big government.

  • We disagree on that. There no such thing as robber barons. One of your robber barons saved the whales. He made oil cheap enough for people to read at night. I believe your the 99% that don’t understand economics. The constitution regulates all things. I don’t believe that there is place for government to regulate. By the time the government created Osha there was less accidents happening at the workplace. A Marxist is person that believes in big government.

  • Ron Paul is consistently for removing coercion from human affairs. Both in domestic and foreign policy.

  • Yeah, I know what libertarianism is. That’s a nice way of saying deregulation and rolling us back 100 years. You know, when there wasn’t any workers safety laws, no minimum wage, ect. How great the standard of living was with robber barons running the country wouldn’t you agree Mr. libertarian? No government to regulate anything! As a Marxist I am very much for the people for your information.

    • JennieWalsh

      See: Yuri Bezminov KGB U Tube —— to see how leftist fools put dictators into power and to see what the dictators do to their “useful idiots” once they have been put into totalitarian power. Communism, Marxism, leads to poverty, suffering, tyranny, torture and evils of every kind. Capitalism doesn’t create absolute perfection because there are very many very evil people in the world who thrive on taking advantage of others. BUT, communism/socialism are huge, organized crime rip-off scams that give evil power-mongers power over the money, lives of the people.
      The only real beneficiaries of government controlled communist/socialist programs are the evil and corrupt government officials and bureaucrats who stuff their own pockets with trillion$ and dole out, relatively speaking, nickels, dimes and pennies to the so-called “beneficiaries”.
      Milton Friedman, economist, said that if the poor actually received all the money that is supposedly given to them they would be rich. How do you think the crooked 1% got so rich? By using government “do-good” fraudulent programs to rip off the taxpayers.
      For further enlightenment: ——- to see where taxpayer money goes and to see all the lies and fraud of government. If you trust government to take care of you, you are in for very serious disappointments and very rude awakenings.
      Freedom is all about taking care and responsibility for oneself. Some people do not want to do that; they have the consciousness of a slave and want to be told what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Big and controlling government turns everyone into a slave.