Index of Worker Freedom

By December 10, 2007Labor Unions

The Alliance for Worker Freedom — a relatively new offshoot of Americans for Tax Reform — released its first-ever “Index of Worker Freedom, A National Report Card” last week, a state-by-state summary of workers rights. (Download report here.)

These sorts of rankings are admittedly arbitrary projects: Which data do you choose for your system? Still, the results of this one correlate with our general sense of things. The top five states for worker freedoms: Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, South Carolina. The bottom five (starting with the worst): Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, Minnesota and Hawaii. Connecticut also got an F grade.

The interesting methodology used by the Alliance is the heavy emphasis on public employees. For example, the ratings factor in “paycheck protection” — freedom-friendly laws that prevent government union from spending fees or dues for political contributions — as well as defined contribution plans (good), collective bargaining rights for public employees (bad), and public sector unionization (the higher the percentage, the less freedom).

But those choices make sense. With private-sector union membership falling, unions are turning their energies more and more toward the government sector. For example, governors are pushing through “card check” unionizing for public employees (see Oregon), trying to win points with organized labor while building up momentum for federal legislation on private-sector card check.

Expanding public-sector unionization is particularly noxious because, unlike the private sector, labor demands do not have natural checks against excessivenes. As Bob Williams, president of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation writes in the preface,

The emergence of these public-sector unions has serious consequences for the scope, cost, and size of government. Unlike a private business that has limited resources to cover its costs, government can increase its resources by raising taxes. Paying an inefficient bureaucracy with taxpayer money is generally easier than fixing the problems of inefficiency.

Public-sector unions leverage their secure source of income and collective bargaining authority to drive a three-pronged strategy to maintain and expand their power. They elect politicians and government officials through campaign support, create policies to maintain and expand union power and influence, and lobby favorable officials to implement the policies.

Williams concludes that public-sector unionization is a major issue that state lawmakers must consider as they review their states’ economic environment.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Jason says:

    This is more of a question rather than comment.

    I want to know why in the some states our employers think they can have complete control over just about everything we do,when we can use the restroom, I mean a co-worker of mine has a weak bladder so they go to the restroom often and my co-worker was told they need to see a doctor although they had already been and had a clean bill of health, And also where I work they say the wage is Competitive however, I believe if your going to work with any type of explosive you really should be getting hazard pay on top of your regular pay right? I mean I work for a company that deals in things to help air bags go off and well honestly some ppl may think a starting wage of $11.00 is good to start with, not me not these days everything is getting to expensive and its becoming more and more difficult to live comfortably and retire at the riterment age and or early if possible at a top out pay rate of only 13.95 per hour this is nearly impossible plus it just makes ppl not want to even work I mean why would anybody work hard for this kind of pay when the overtime is where the money they need is at so instead of doing their jobs they do everything they possibly can to make sure they earn close to what they deserve and if only these employers could figure this out for themselves instead of constantly trying make ppl feel bad about and just pay us our worth these things may not happen as often and our jobs might actually get done before time or right on time as what my job asks of me yes I said I dont believe in the word career simply because I have college under my belt and you know what it does not matter they simply think just because they started at the bottom everyone else should have to ya know what they made that choice for themselves no one twisted their arm or held them at gun point at least I hope not and your going start at the bottom just cause I had to! This kind of thinking irritates the livin hell out of me why cause I dont care where someone else started I’m starting wherever I damn well please whether it be at Supervisor level/in Adminstration everyone thinks you need school for this bullcrap all you need is someone to be willing to train you ppl are not as dumb as we may all think right? anyway for working with explosive I am wondering what do others say someone of this nature should I mean they are putting their lives and mine on the line to try and make life easier and safer for everyone.

Leave a Reply