Skip Navigation

Right to Work Increases Jobs and Choices

November 9, 2011
By James Sherk

This paper, written by Heritage Foundation labor economics research fellow James Sherk, examines how right-to-work laws affect workers and labor organizations.

employment application

This paper, written by Heritage Foundation labor economics research fellow James Sherk, examines how right-to-work laws affect workers and labor organizations.

States with right-to-work laws attract business investment and growth, Sherk writes.

“Right-to-work states are much more attractive for businesses’ investment,” Sherk wrote. “Unionized firms earn lower profits, invest less, and create fewer jobs than comparable nonunion firms. Boeing’s decision to build a new plant in South Carolina—a right-to-work state—illustrates a larger trend. Businesses consider the presence (or absence) of a right-to-work law a major factor when deciding where to locate. It was no accident that foreign automobile brands located their U.S. plants primarily in right-to-work states like Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Research suggests that foreign direct investment in Oklahoma and Idaho increased after these states passed right-to-work laws.”

Lawmakers should do what’s right for workers, Sherk writes, not what’s right for union bosses.

“Lawmakers considering right-to-work proposals should ignore the union movement’s self-interested opposition,” Sherk wrote. “Unions could negotiate contracts that apply only to their members—they simply prefer not to. Unions should not be able to force workers to choose between financially supporting them and losing their jobs.”

Article Tags
Employment