News Release: Mackinac Center Unveils "Right-to-Work Dashboard"

A quick guide to how much Michigan could gain by protecting worker rights

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Paul Kersey
Director of Labor Policy

MIDLAND - New unemployment figures demonstrate the need for Michigan to become a right-to-work state, according to Mackinac Center Labor Policy Director Paul Kersey, who today announced the posting of an online "Right-to-Work Dashboard." This regularly updated feature will compare the economic performance of right-to-work states to that of non-right-to-work states, with a spotlight on the struggling Michigan economy. The Dashboard will serve as a resource for policymakers, reporters and residents. Under a state right-to-work law, workers cannot be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

"A quick look at the Dashboard will show that Michigan is getting its doors blown off by right-to-work states," Kersey said. "For instance, the newest unemployment figures show that Michigan has the worst jobless rate in the country, hitting 14.1 percent in May. Average unemployment rates are substantially lower in those states where employees have the final say on financial support for unions; 7.8 percent for right-to-work states versus 9.0 for non-right-to-work. That's the kind of performance we should be trying to emulate."

In spite of the current recession, the Dashboard shows that right-to-work states are doing better in terms of holding onto jobs and holding incomes steady; median family incomes are actually rising faster in right-to-work states compared to non-right-to-work states.

"These numbers show that the people who comprise the nation's productive forces — the entrepreneurs, employees and business owners — have revealed their preferences for states with right-to-work laws," says Fiscal Policy Analyst James Hohman, who compiled the statistics for the Dashboard. "Michigan will grow again, and that time will come sooner if we allow each worker to decide if they want to join a union."

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy will update the Dashboard as new information is released by the federal government.