Buckeye Institute, Policy Matters Ohio square off on right-to-work research

Business First - Columbus & Dayton - March 28, 2012

Carrie Ghose

A hypothetical average Ohio family of four would be making $12,000 more a year today if Ohio had adopted a right-to-work law in 1977, concludes a report released Wednesday by the conservative Buckeye Institute.

The institute supports a drive by several conservative groups to collect signatures for a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to prohibit unions from collecting representation fees from workers who don’t join.

Last month, Indiana became the first in the Midwest manufacturing belt to enact a right-to-work law, and Columbus economic development officials have suggested that companies looking to relocate cross states off their lists if they lack such a law.

The Buckeye Institute’s study (PDF here) by Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder says, “Arguably the single biggest impediment to an improved labor environment is the lack of a right-to-work law which guarantees workers the freedom to join, or not join, labor unions as they so choose.”

And argue they will. Supporters of collective bargaining were preparing to question the report before it was even released, based on disagreements with Vedder’s choice of data points and overstatement of the significance of variables in his past work.

Amy Hanauer, of Cleveland-based Policy Matters Ohio, suggested the work of a Vedder critic, Gordon Lafer of the University of Oregon. His own study on right-to-work laws indicates that they have no effect on job growth, are a minor factor on attracting new employers and actually lower wages and likelihood of employees receiving benefits.

Buckeye Institute, Policy Matters Ohio square off on right-to-work research

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