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.


  • Without compulsory union dues. There are those who reap the benefits without any costs, simply because the majority of people are a-political. I agree with much of what Dr P said, but unfortunately, places like WalMart are much more unconstitutional, and a union is the first step to get back some power for the people.

  • People wouldnt complain about low wages if the money was worth something.

  • How much should low-skilled, low-educated workers performing generally menial tasks be paid?

    How should such a pay rate be determined?

  • I agree that he never really thought he could become the nominee. He ran for president in order to publicize his ideas. What I was trying to say is that Ron Paul could have had a real chance, if he was treated fairly by the media and the GOP. The comment above said he couldn’t win because he has only a cult following, but my point is that his ideas are popular, its just that he was constantly discredited by the media.

  • Ron Paul was never a serious candidate. You must be new to following politics if you think Ron Paul was actually trying to become the GOP nominee.

  • The food at Wal Mart is not cheap. They offer a few cheap products as loss leaders to get suckers into the store. WalMart is not good for the economy. The pay is very low and a large percentage of their employees rely on food stamps and Medicaid. So the other tax payers subsidize WalMart’s low wages.

  • I’m sure that if the people working there wanted to. They could all quit. It not like you have only one place to work and shop.
    Yes I know they bride the Mexican government but it also the most corrupt government at one time. It does not make it right. But now days you have to bride the government if your company. Or The government will take you to court for being a monopoly. That can cost you thousands of dollars defending the company. The laws and regulations need to be changed.

  • Walmart is good for our economy because it offers goods for low prices. I couldn’t afford to buy the food I do if I went to another retailer.

    Walmart is also good for our economy because they employ thousands of workers. These workers don’t have to work at Walmart; they can choose to work somewhere else if they want to make more. Yet people have the audacity to blame Walmart for offering people a paycheck in this tough economy. The nerve!

  • really? what about wal-mart is ron paul against?

    the only illegal activity they commit is outside the US jurisdiction.

    does ron paul want to make it illegal for wal-mart to buy good that are manufactured over-seas?

    well in order to do that, he would need to penalize them for buying those good, but that’s a form of regulation which ron paul is against

    no, you stupid shit, wal-mart is the way it is BECAUSE there is no regulation

  • you are miss guided. walmart is a form of corporatism which ron paul is against. either way if your father bulit a successfull business you should bitch just because there sons wont have to work. Standerd problem with liberals

  • those days are fucking over

    we no longer have Steve jobs or Rockefeller, what we have are their CEOs and sons who grew up not knowing what it’s like to struggle or work because everything they have has already been laid out for them

    and by the way, the government created the internet, the largest source of information and innovation in history. they also funded the moon landing and space programs as well as nuclear research so shut your mouth

  • yeah im sure the sons of wal-marts CEO had to work hard

    im sure he worked hard to get wages as low as possible and im sure he worked hard to bribe the mexican government so they could put a super wal-mart next to an aztec temple

    im sure he worked hard pushing the self check-out lanes so wal-mart wouldn’t have to hire as many people

    and im sure you work hard to make up bullshit excuses for this scum-bag behavior

  • you do realize ron paul lost WITHOUT the media EVEN TALKING about how he think s we should cut aid to israel, without talking about the fact he wants to get rid of the department of education, without talking about his racist news letters

    they gave ron paul NO NEGATIVE PRESS and he STILL lost by a vast amount

  • The sickness of GovernMental family law is 100x worse America is to stupid to see the control freaks sink our economy.

  • wRONg Paul is a fuckin’ jackass and a Paultard is a horse’s asses!

  • Patriot1

    Unions can have good purposes, but it seems to me that the pendulum has shifted too far in the other direction. Ron Paul is right, no one should be forced to join a union in order to have a job. And yes, there is such a thing as “robber barons.” Robber barons are not capitalists, but rather quasi-capitalists who use lobbying and the power of big government to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayers, such as Bear Stearnes, GM, etc. Real capitalism rewards hard work and productivity, not manipulation and underhanded tactics. Real capitalism also involves risk. If you take a chance and lose all your money, it’s your loss, not somebody else’s. On the other hand, it’s also about reward. If you succeed, the money is yours to keep, not be taken away by the communist income tax system. The Biblical principle is that hard work is rewarded and laziness is punished. Instead, we have it 180 degrees backwards in this country, we tend to punish the successful and reward the deadbeats. This is in complete contradiction to the laws of God. No wonder this country is going down the tubes.

  • robin

    French Canadian,
    Don’t know whether you will see this or not, but Ben Swann is looking into whether there is any real connection with LIBOR and the two shootings. I also smell a rat here and believe there’s much more to this than meets the eye as there has been in all these shootings. No one talks about the drugs they were on and all the holes in what happened-second shooters that disappeared, etc. Most people are unaware of the MLK programs by the military and intelligence community and how many psychologists have been employed for this purpose. Most people would find it difficult to believe how sinister some people are. I have a friend who is a retired school superintendent and taught high school history for many years. She does not listen to the news or does she pay attention to what is going on because she feels there is nothing she can do. She feels helpless. What would you tell someone like this? Instead, she is a devout Christian who prays and tries to lead a pious life and follows the Golden Rule. She does not condemn people of other faiths. There are many I know just like her.

  • I disagree. If the media had embraced Ron Paul and hadn’t attempted to discredit him every chance they got, and if the RNC had embraced him, then Paul could have been the nominee. I think becoming the nominee would be the hard part. If Ron Paul went up against Obama I would bet on Paul, and there are polls that show this. People love the anti war message, people are sick of the drug war, and he is willing to actually cut the military. He would steal the young vote from Obama, and steal democrats

  • As did I!

  • Thank you for these