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Right-to-Work Laws Don’t Lower Private-Sector Pay

September 1, 2015
By James Sherk

Advocates for compulsory unionization have argued that right-to-work (RTW) laws reduce wages by 3 percent.

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Advocates for compulsory unionization have argued that right-to-work (RTW) laws reduce wages by 3 percent. A forthcoming Heritage Foundation Backgrounder finds instead that, when living costs are fully taken into account, private-sector workers in RTW states enjoy real wages equivalent to those in non-RTW states. Policymakers considering RTW legislation may do so confident that it will have no negative impact on private-sector wages. RTW laws do appear to slightly reduce the pay of government employees, easing constraints on hard-pressed state budgets.