MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus on Twitter · Facebook · Flickr · Newsletters · Instagram 
Sunday, September 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 58.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
Collapse Photo Bar

Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Please limit discussion in this area to local and state politics.

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:03 pm



That worked so well in Wisconsin. In fact when it came time to unseat Walker, the Unions' hand picked candidate...

didn't even come close in the primary.

Of all the things that might keep Walker from signing Right To Work legislation, I'm guessing "Union Payback" doesn't even make the list. Hell, if he times it right, he can use that "payback" in his ads for re-election.
Francis Di Domizio
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2429
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:11 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby snoqueen » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:17 pm

I did find it interesting Obama delivered a forceful speech to a union crowd today in Michigan (at the Daimler plant), speaking against the right-to-work bill....

but didn't lift a finger when Walker pulled the Act 10 trick a couple years ago.

What a difference a second term makes.
snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 11501
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby Meade » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:37 pm

snoqueen wrote:What a difference a second term makes.

Good point. If Obama had in fact put on his big boy union shoes and come to Wisconsin to join the Uprising, he would have ended up being a one-termer.
Meade
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3341
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:26 pm

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby Donald » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:25 pm

The political ideologues/corporate owners of the Wisconsin Republican puppets have already drafted the bill they want. They will wait till they've gutted the mining law and done a few other things in what they will pretend is a bipartisan way. Then they will bring the bill the corportists want and slam it through.
Donald
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2343
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2002 4:53 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby Mad Howler » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:43 pm

Excellent thread. I still feel that I am barking at the moon, but it is getting a little less lonely. It is good to hear the noise of honest opinion with regard to asking for our vote as opposed to..., well I expect you all have been following the news.
MH
Mad Howler
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:36 pm

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby kurt_w » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:52 pm

For those who are interested, there's a nice summary of the effects of "right-to-work" laws on states that adopt them, over here.

The bottom line:

* Unions are weakened
* Business owners benefit
* Wages decline, and workers get a smaller share of income
* other effects are hard to diagnose, because there are too many other confounding factors and because unions are already a relatively minor presence in most states.

I think unions are pretty much doomed to extinction and/or irrelevance over the next decade or two. The net effect will be an increase in economic inequality, as the rich get richer and the middle class gets poorer. It's just another step in the process of turning the US into a sort of high tech banana republic.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5083
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:08 pm

Here is the New York Times take on Michigan's proposed right-to-work legislation:
Taking Aim at Michigan’s Middle Class

These measures are misleadingly known as “right to work” laws, and their purpose is no less deceptive. Business leaders say workers should not be forced to join a union against their will, but, in fact, workers in Michigan can already opt out of a union. If they benefit from the better wages and benefits negotiated by a union, however, they are required to pay dues or fees, preventing the free riders that would inevitably leave unions without resources.

Concern for the rights of individual workers, of course, is not the real reason business is pushing so hard for these laws. Gutting unions is the fastest way to achieve lower wages and higher profits.
...
Republican officials also know that depriving unions of dues will hurt Democratic candidates, who usually win the support of labor. As President Obama said at a diesel plant in Redford, Mich., on Monday, “These so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws, they don’t have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”
Henry Vilas
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 19886
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Name sez it all

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:13 am

kurt_w wrote:The bottom line:
* Wages decline, and workers get a smaller share of income


Interesting thought that made me curious about the net effect on states with Right to Work.

I found this on WIKI Studies of economic impact

  • Wages in right-to-work states are 3.2% lower than those in non-RTW states, after controlling for a full complement of individual demographic and socioeconomic variables as well as state macroeconomic indicators. Using the average wage in non-RTW states as the base ($22.11), the average full-time, full-year worker in an RTW state makes about $1,500 less annually than a similar worker in a non-RTW state.
  • The rate of employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) is 2.6 percentage points lower in RTW states compared with non-RTW states, after controlling for individual, job, and state-level characteristics. If workers in non-RTW states were to receive ESI at this lower rate, 2 million fewer workers nationally would be covered.
  • The rate of employer-sponsored pensions is 4.8 percentage points lower in RTW states, using the full complement of control variables in [the study's] regression model. If workers in non-RTW states were to receive pensions at this lower rate, 3.8 million fewer workers nationally would have pensions.


On the other hand (emphasis mine):
The above data does not factor in the COLI for each state. According to the Council for Community and Economic Research the cost of living index for California in 2009 was 132% of the national average while Texas was 90.2%. This pattern holds true between the right-to-work states in the South and Midwest and the non-right-to-work states in the higher cost regions. Adjusting pay for these regional cost differences results in higher real buying power in most of the right-to-work states.


So workers are getting paid less but what they are getting paid goes further. The next question then should probably be, do prices drop because of RTW or are lower COLI areas more likely to go RTW?

RTW will most definitely hurt Unions and likely some union workers, but as Kurt pointed out
kurt_w wrote:unions are already a relatively minor presence in most states

If RTW does lead to a lower COLI across the state, isn't it more fair to the majority of citizens in the state(who are not in unions) to implement said legislation?

And yes I get that ultimately it's the business owners who will profit the most, but does the fact the business owners profit from a small portion of the population mean that a larger portion can't profit as well?

I'm sure the question won't matter to Henry, who's strong loyalty to his Union and opposition to RTW legislation is know far and wide, but for anyone who is concerned about the effect of said legislation beyond it's effect on the unions, it be nice to see what the real effects are?
Francis Di Domizio
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2429
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:11 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby Mad Howler » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:47 am

Francis Di Domizio wrote:So workers are getting paid less but what they are getting paid goes further. The next question then should probably be, do prices drop because of RTW or are lower COLI areas more likely to go RTW?


Franc, good to see you back in the narrative. But is it of your own volition?

http://www.nationaljournal.com/blogs/in ... ig-guns-04
Mad Howler
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:36 pm

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:47 am

Francis, I think you're jumping to the unwarranted conclusion that there's a causal relationship between unionization rates and cost of living. That's going out on a pretty thin limb. In contrast, the decrease in wages following passage of RTW appears to be pretty well established.

Most of the difference within the US in cost of living comes down to housing. That, in turn, mostly comes down to supply and demand. High costs of living are associated with places (a) that lots of people want to live and (b) that have generally restrictive environments for the construction of new housing.

So de-unionizing a state will lead to lower wages, but unless you're actively driving people away it's not going to lower the cost of living much.

Insofar as RTW states have a lower cost of living, it's because they tend to be less desirable places to live, and they may also have less restricted housing markets leading to lower prices for homes.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5083
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:44 am

Mad Howler wrote:
Francis Di Domizio wrote:So workers are getting paid less but what they are getting paid goes further. The next question then should probably be, do prices drop because of RTW or are lower COLI areas more likely to go RTW?


Franc, good to see you back in the narrative. But is it of your own volition?

http://www.nationaljournal.com/blogs/in ... ig-guns-04


Are you suggesting I could get paid to troll Henry and not just do it for fun?

Sorry Mad, any crazy shit I spew is of my own creation, and designed more to get my own thoughts out and hear other peoples thoughts.

kurt_w I was going to start looking into the connection between RTW and lower wages next (but didn't get a chance to last night). Outside of Indiana which changed too recently to really provide any good data, what states have changed in recent history that I could crunch the numbers on?

For the record I don't think RTW does lead to lower COLI, but I'm curious if it leads to lower wages or if wages in those states were lower to begin with due to other factors (such as low COLI).
Francis Di Domizio
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2429
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:11 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:29 am

The only other "recent" state to adopt RTW was Oklahoma. So you can't really test that hypothesis by looking at changes in individual states. You have to do it by comparing RTW and non-RTW states, but because that's an inherently less reliable comparison, you have to be very careful to control for the many, many confounding factors that also vary between and among RTW and non-RTW states.

In 2011, EPI did such a study; they carefully controlled for over 40 other social and economic factors, and examined residual differences in wages (and other variables):

Wages in right-to-work states are 3.2% lower than those in non-RTW states, after controlling for a full complement of individual demographic and socio-economic variables as well as state macroeconomic indicators. Using the average wage in non-RTW states as the base ($22.11), the average full-time, full-year worker in an RTW state makes about $1,500 less annually than a similar worker in a non-RTW state.

The rate of employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) is 2.6 percentage points lower in RTW states compared with non-RTW states, after controlling for individual, job, and state-level characteristics. If workers in non-RTW states were to receive ESI at this lower rate, 2 million fewer workers nationally would be covered.

The rate of employer-sponsored pensions is 4.8 percentage points lower in RTW states, using the full complement of control variables in our regression model. If workers in non-RTW states were to receive pensions at this lower rate, 3.8 million fewer workers nationally would have pensions.

This briefing paper provides the most comprehensive study to date of the relationship between RTW status and compensation. Using a full set of explanatory variables, including state-level controls, it is clear that our analysis stands apart as being more rigorous than others of this type.

Our results apply not just to union members, but to all employees in a state… We measure the particular effects of RTW laws on compensation among workers who are not unionized or covered by union contracts. The wage penalty for nonunionized workers is 3.0%, and the benefit penalty is 2.8 percentage points and 5.3 percentage points for health and pension benefits, respectively. Our results suggest that proposals to advance RTW laws likely come at the expense of workers’ wages and benefits, both within and outside of unions.


Note that latter point: unions don't just raise wages for their own workers; even non-unionized workers in states with above-average unionization rates receive higher wages.

Note also that cost of living was among the other factors that the EPI study controlled for (see table 4).

In contrast, studies that have shown economic benefits (on growth rates, etc.) from de-unionization typically only do a naive comparison of RTW vs non-RTW states without any statistical controls. That's good for propaganda, not so good for analysis.

The EPI study has the advantage of being comprehensive, thorough, and well-designed from a statistical standpoint. It has the disadvantage of being funded by, and published by, a generally left-leaning think tank. The latter concern is somewhat ameliorated by the fact that other "nonpartisan" studies have found similar results (e.g., here).
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5083
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby wack wack » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:37 am

Meade wrote:
snoqueen wrote:What a difference a second term makes.

Good point. If Obama had in fact put on his big boy union shoes and come to Wisconsin to join the Uprising, he would have ended up being a one-termer.


Yeah... Romney wasn't going to make ANYONE a one-termer. Obama could've put up a Youtube series graphically demonstrating the entire series of "Dead Babies" joke books with real babies and Romney wouldn't have beaten him.
wack wack
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3148
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2003 5:32 pm

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:45 am

The whole framing of this as "right to work" is misleading, actually.

These laws don't guarantee anyone a "right to work", they do the distinctly un-libertarian act of using the power of government to dictate the terms of contracts between private parties.

They're intended to destroy unions, by preventing them from negotiating favorable agreements with employers. The intent of the laws is to create a "free-rider" problem for unions, as a way of weakening them and ultimately making them irrelevant.

Now, I'm not a libertarian so I don't think that being "un-libertarian" is inherently a sign of a bad (or good) law. These laws are bad not because they're un-libertarian, but because they increase inequality, harm the working class, and increase the power of the already powerful.

But a person who does consider themselves "libertarian" ought to be definitively opposed to "RTW" laws. Why should government be allowed to dictate the terms of private contracts?
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5083
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Is Wisconsin next for right to work legislation?

Postby Meade » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:02 pm

"There will be blood" - Dem. State Representative Douglas Geiss (D), from the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives today. http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2 ... MdmOqWhCDX

This is what Democrat-cy looks like.
Meade
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3341
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:26 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Local Politics & Government

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar