The Right-to-Work laws do not apply to every state in the United States in fact they are only used in twenty two of the fifty mainland states, and Rhode Island is an example of what can happen when these laws are not enforced. There are two sides to this debate, and the example which will be used as a comparison is Texas, which does have a Right-to-Work law. This law has helped to create an environment which is beneficial to business development and economic prosperity in the state of Texas, however there are issues with the adoption of a Right-to-Work law, just as the opposite side will argue for their point of view. There are a number of comparisons with Texas which can be used to demonstrate the effects of Right-to-Work laws, and some of “the effects of right-to-work legislation in Texas suggests that legal restrictions on union security clauses have had little effect on the rate of unionization of employees” (Bennett & Johnson, 1980, p. 4), which is not the case in Rhode Island where all employees are forced into paying a subscription for something they may not want. Therefore is employees feel that they will benefit from joining a union, then they will join, regardless of whether or not it is part of their employment contract. It is also a Constitutional right to choose whether or not a person associates themselves with any organization, or not, and therefore it could be said that in states where there are no Right-to-Work laws, the state government are acting unconstitutionally.
The Right-to-Work law effectively bans the use of an agreement between workers unions and the employers which make payment of membership fees compulsory under conditions of employment contracts. This collective bargaining position which is used by unions which force their members to pay for the privilege can help to cause many other issues for economic development of the state. In the state of Rhode Island there is no Right-to-Work law, therefore companies which wish to do business there have to deal with unions and union bargaining agreements while they try and conduct their operations, while accepting payments of fees from employees who may not wish to be a member of a union. The moral and ethical arguments against for this law make it very difficult to see how people can argue against it. This makes business investment opportunities in the state look unappealing to major corporations, and other states which do use this law benefit from not being held to ransom by the unions when dealing with employee relations. The state government also supports the non introduction of this law and along with some of the other policies implemented in Rhode Island; they show that they are against economic improvement and a way of benefiting all the population. It should therefore be a human right for every employee to choose for themselves whether or not they want to join a union not for the state government to decide that everyone should pay for the union, whether or not they will use their services. The unions on the other hand argue that all employees benefit from collectively bargaining for their positions, therefore they should all pay their share, again an argument which ignores the individual choice of an individual as to whether or not they want to join, let alone be charged for it as well.
The state of Rhode Island has one of the highest unemployment rates in the entire United States, and the Right-to-Work issue is one which is unfortunately linked to this fact. There other issues which affect business in Rhode Island, such as the high tax rates and low employment figures which indirectly link to and cause other problems in the state. The low level of employment, and cost of living combined with the high tax leads to low levels of revenue for the state government, this then limits government spending on infrastructure which in turn affects the people who are working and paying for everything. Therefore business is always reticent to do business in this state, and according to the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, the Right-to-Work laws effect the economic situation of the state and should be abandoned in order to try and help economic growth. He claims that these laws are making Rhode Island a worse choice than some other states, such as Texas, for big business to invest in mainly “because Rhode Island has the highest taxes in the country. Second highest in the nation. 48th worst state to do business,” said Welch (Jack Welch Talks Rhode Island, 2008). This man was head of General Electric and was allegedly credited with adding value to the company to the tune of billions of dollars, and he is able to see some of the problems facing Rhode Island, and what should be done to stop them. Making Right-to-Work laws applicable in this state will free some of the constricting regulations for business operation.
Therefore in conclusion it could definitely be said the Rhode Island should adopt Right-to-Work laws and consider lowering tax rates to help the economy and the region grow. The fact that American workers want to be free from regulation and organization is shown in an article by Doug Bandow in the Washington Times in which he states that over the last few centuries in America that “economic opportunities have increased, American workers have demonstrated they prefer freedom to the regimentation that comes from organized labor” (“Defending Freedom of Workers,” 2008, p. B03), and in a situation where the state government is enforcing mandatory membership of an organization which is based around the collective making decisions for the individual there is bound to be a problem. This problem is also confounded by the high unemployment which is in part caused by the lack of these laws, as well as the massive tax rates enforced on both businesses and individuals. It can be said with great confidence that the State of Rhode Island should become a Right-to-Work state, so that the communities can benefit from more employment and more opportunities for future generations. Looking at Texas and how they have implemented these laws, they have made the Right-to-Work a fundamental human right, free from government and union interference, which is a constitutional right of all employees and citizens of the United States of America.
Bennett, J. T., & Johnson, M. H. (1980). The Impact of Right-To-Work Laws on the Economic
Behavior of Local Unions: A Property Rights Perspective. Journal of Labor Research, 1(1), 1-27. Retrieved August 12, 2010, from Questia database: http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=96381894
Defending Freedom of Workers. (2008, March 16). The Washington Times, p. B03. Retrieved
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Jack Welch Talks Rhode Island. (2008, October 30). Retrieved August 2010, 13, from wpri.com: