Teacher Unions Anti Right to Work Crusade Hurts Teachers

The NEA falsely claims that “Right-to-Work Laws Increase Poverty, Decrease Productivity” but reality proves these Big Labor propagandists wrong: Right to Work States Benefit From Faster Growth, Higher Real Purchasing Power – 2011 Update.

Top bosses of the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT/AFL-CIO) teacher unions, as well as officers of the NEA and AFT unions’ state and local affiliates, hate Right to Work laws. In every forced-unionism state where there is a major grass-roots effort to pass a Right to Work law barring forced union dues and fees, teacher union bigwigs are among the most loud and vituperative opponents.

One very recent example is a brief pro-forced unionism screed by Ohio teacher union activist Darrell Minor, published in the electronic version of the NEA Today newsletter last week (see the first link above).

Like the vast majority of Big Labor propagandists, Minor simply ignores the fact that the average cost of living in Right to Work states is far lower than in forced-unionism states. Data supplied by the nonpartisan Missouri Economic and Research Information Center indicate that in 2011 the average cost of housing, energy, food, medical care, and other necessities was nearly 20% higher in forced-unionism states than in Right to Work states. Another fact ignored by Minor is the massive net out-migration of people from non-Right to Work states to Right to Work states. From 2000 to 2009, for example, a net total of nearly five million people moved out of forced-unionism states and into Right to Work states. A disproportionately large share of these people were young adults and children. People of virtually all education levels, including the college-educated, the high school-only educated, and high school drop-outs are fleeing compulsory unionism.

Once these facts are taken into account, Minor’s meretricious case against Right to Work simply melts away. (See the second link above.)

Ironically, teachers themselves, regardless of what they personally think about forced unionism, are harmed in a very concrete way whenever the union machine succeeds in blocking enactment of a state Right to Work law. From 2000 to 2011, U.S. Census data show, the number of school-aged children (aged five to 17) in the 28 states that lacked Right to Work laws during that period fell by an average of 3.7% due to the out-migration discussed above. Meanwhile, the number of school-aged children in Right to Work states increased by 9.2% (See the last two links above.)

All of the seven states with the greatest absolute gains of school-aged children from 2000 to 2011 (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and Utah) have Right to Work laws. Meanwhile, nine of the 10 states with the greatest losses (Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) do not protect workers from forced unionism dues. Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Louisiana is the sole exception among the 10.

What does fewer schoolchildren mean for teachers?  Fewer job opportunities, of course. But this is a price teacher union bosses are willing to pay for the sake of ensuring that forced dues continue to flow into their coffers and those of other union officials.