Opinion

‘Right to work’ dangerous for WV

A Gazette editorial from the Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — “Right to work” sounds so appealing, doesn’t it, with the vague suggestion that if West Virginia could just get some oppressor’s boot out of its back, its people would be free to prosper?

It might be good marketing by out-of-state political interests, but it’s not good policy.

The AFL-CIO is right to point out that states that enacted “right to work” laws have suffered. The most worrisome correlation is workplace deaths, which are 54 percent higher in “right to work” states.

But there are other concerns. Federal Bureau of Labor statistics show that seven of the 10 states with the highest unemployment are “right to work.” Employee earnings are $6,000 a year lower in “right to work” states. Some of the difference can be accounted for in a lower cost of living, but not most of it.

Perhaps desperate states that are already suffering job loss and shrinking earnings are susceptible to the sales pitch for “right to work.”

 But it’s not a cure for economic ills…

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