Buckeye Institute report supports right-to-work law in Ohio
Posted March 28, 2012 in Press Releases
A report released Wednesday by the right-leaning Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions says Ohio could benefit from changing its union labor laws.
In the report, economist Richard Vedder argues states with right-to-work laws show higher rates of growth in income and have attracted workers while Ohio has lost them. According to Vedder, a professor at Ohio University, Ohio workers would now earn as much as $3,000 more a year if Ohio had passed a right-to-work law in 1977.
The report was released after recent events indicate Ohioans might consider right-to-work legislation, which would allow employees to opt out of paying fees associated with a union. Indiana enacted a right-to-work law earlier this year. A group called Ohioans for Workplace Freedom announced in February it would collect signatures to put a right-to-work measure on the ballot this year or in 2013. Around the same time, a Quinnipiac University Poll found 54 percent of Ohioans favored right-to-work legislation.
Amy Hanauer, executive director of Policy Matters Ohio, said Vedder is known for cherry picking data that supports his conclusions. Hanauer said a right-to-work law in Ohio would lower wages and reduce access to health insurance, which would have a more negative effect on the state’s economy.
“Access to health insurance and retirement security is part of what makes a state an appealing place to live,” Hanauer.
Economists at the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute have debunked Vedder’s claims and shown right-to-work laws cannot be linked to state unemployment rates, per capita income or job growth. They found right-to-work laws lower wages for union and non-union workers by $1,500 a year on average. For every $1 million in wage cuts, the institute argues, $850,000 less is spent in the economy.
Vedder said employers perceive it more costly to take root in a non-right-to-work state. Total employment in Ohio grew 34 percent from 1977 to 2008 compared with 71 percent nationally and 100 percent in right-to-work states, according to Vedder’s analysis, which tried to control for factors such as population growth and changes in the manufacturing industry.
Vedder said right-to-work isn’t anti-union