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Right to Work - The Real Income Story

Category: Labor
Posted: 02/02/12 03:45, Edited: 02/02/12 03:46

by Dave Mindeman

Among the myriad of potential amendments being floated around by the GOP legislature is a "right to work" amendment. A not so veiled attack on unions in Minnesota.

The conservative think tank, the Center for the American Experiment released a study that, they say, proves that right to work states do better and that Minnesota would have increased per capita income by $3,000.

The author of the study puts it this way...

"If you provide an economic environment that is pro growth, that is pro opportunity ? or perceived by businesses that way ? and you bring in resources to the state, you bring in machinery and capital," Vedder said, "you will, in the long run raise wages for workers."

Alright, using that argument, let's list the top 20 states in order of average income per person (source - Census numbers via USA Today):

1. Connecticut..........$56,000
2. Massachusetts......$51.552
3. New Jersey...........$50,781
4. Maryland..............$49,025
5. New York..............$48,821
6. Wyoming.............$47,851
7. Virginia................$44,762
8. Alaska.................$44,174
9. New Hampshire.....$44,084
10.Washington.........$43,564
11.Illinois................$43,159
12.California............$43,104
13.Minnesota...........$42,843
14.Colorado.............$42,802
15.Rhode Island.......$42,579
16.Pennsylvania.......$41,152
17.Hawaii................$41,021
18.North Dakota.......$40,596
19.Vermont.............$40,283
20.Delaware.............$39,962

There are 23 current right to work states. Three of them, Wyoming, Virginia, and North Dakota appear in the top 20.

And if you really examine the unique situations, Virginia gets there because they have a large number of people who live in Virginia but work in Washington, DC. And it would be a little difficult to attribute North Dakota as a right to work success story since they are in the middle of an oil boom. In fact, it looks like North Dakota will be in the top 10 next year. As for Wyoming, a small population with a heavy agricultural base doesn't deal much with union issues.

So, that means that 20 of the bottom 30 states in income are right to work states.

If right to work is such an income generator, then you would think that the RTW states would be rising to the top over time.

Not so.

I don't think Minnesota will want to go that route.
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