Waring Finke, the local lefty columnist for the West Bend Daily News, has penned a column opposing right to work in Wisconsin. It is perfectly acceptable for him to hold and espouse this opinion. What is not acceptable is for him to spread misinformation in his column as a means of misleading his readers on this topic.
Finke’s column includes two statements that are easily proven false. Here is the first:
Twenty-four states have enacted RTW laws in one form or another and not one has created a job or protected a current one.
This is false. In fact, states with right to work have grown jobs much faster than states without it – especially in industries dominated by unions:
Meanwhile, private employment has grown 4.9% in right-to-work states over the past three years, versus 3.9% in other states, according to an analysis of Labor Department data. This disparity is particularly stark in the factory sector: Manufacturing employment has grown 4.1% in right-to-work states over the past three years, compared with less than 3% in other states. Meanwhile, factory jobs pay 7.4% less in right-to-work states.
The economy is a dynamic thing and RTW is only a contributing component to the trend, but the data is clear that it does contribute positively to job growth.
Here is Finke’s second false statement, which is much closer to a lie:
If you do go to work in a union shop, you cannot be required to join the union as a condition of becoming employed. If you join the union and choose to pay dues…
The first sentence is true. In Wisconsin, workers can opt out of joining the union if they work for a unionized shop. What they are prohibited by law from doing is opting out of paying dues. So the operative word is in his next sentence. If you work in a union shop, you must pay dues to the union whether you join or not. Workers do not get to “choose to pay dues.” In fact, that is exactly what RTW seeks to do – give workers that choice. Finke paints the false picture that workers already have that choice. They do not.
It is a good sign that the other side of this debate knows their argument is weak if they feel the need to obfuscate the truth in an attempt to bolster their side.