Illinois Policy Institute: Federal data show right-to-work states more economically prosperous

Staff Report

CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) proposed Jan. 27 that individual communities be allowed to establish “right-to-work zones.” A new analysis by the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute finds that Illinois could see an economic boom if the state implements a right-to-work law.

Currently in Illinois, employees of a unionized workplace must pay money to a union as a condition of keeping their jobs because Illinois does not have a right-to-work law. This means teachers and employees of state government must pay money to a union whether they want to or not. But in states or communities with right-to-work laws, employees would have the power to choose whether they want to belong to a union and whether they want to pay money to a union.

The Illinois Policy Institute reviewed data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, and found that states with right-to-work laws have a tremendous economic advantage. The analysis of federal data found that states with right-to-work laws have the following:

• Higher employment growth than states without right-to-work laws, including the state of Illinois;

• Higher wage growth than states without right-to-work laws, including the state of Illinois; and

• Higher GDP growth than in states without right-to-work laws, including Illinois.

No one should be forced to pay money to a union just to keep their job,” said John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute. “Just because you want to be a teacher or serve in state government doesn’t mean you should be forced to fill the coffers of powerful government unions. Not only is implementing a right-to-work law the moral thing to do; it’s also economically smart. People living in states with right-to-work laws make more money. These states have higher GDP growth and wages grow faster. Passing a right-to-work law is a critical part of turning around Illinois’ suffering economy.”

The Institute’s new report, “An economic profile of Right-to-Work states,” is available online at illinoispolicy.org/reports/right-to-work-states/.

From the Feb. 4-10, 2015, issue

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