Mau-Mauing Maryland and Martin O’Malley

By July 15, 2008Economy, Labor Unions


Interesting little story today about labor/blogger activism in the Washington Examiner, “State economic Web site touted low union numbers until bloggers rallied.” The Examiner reports that the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development has pulled online promotional (read, business recruitment) materials from the Choose Maryland” site that highlighted the state’s relatively low union membership.

A pro-union blogger spotted the materials and a flurry of activity followed.

Outraged e-mails are flying across the state’s entire labor movement,” Maryland Politics Watch’s Adam Pagnucco wrote. “We cannot believe that rhetoric typical of Georgia and Oklahoma would be sanctioned at any level inside the [Gov. Martin] O’Malley administration.

CNBC last week released its second annual “Top State for Business” rankings. Here are the top 10:

1.       Texas 6.       North Carolina
2.       Virginia 7.       South Dakota
3.       Utah 8.       Georgia
4.       Idaho 9.       Iowa
5.       Colorado 10.   Minnesota


Mock Georgia all you want, Mr. Pagnucco. Maryland ranked 36th overall.


What’s notable from the list of top states is that the first nine have right-to-work laws.  Average union membership, per se, doesn’t worry business, and wages rarely figure as a top concern. But unions do limit managerial flexibility, making it difficult to adjust production practices and schedules to the realities of the modern, global economy. No wonder right-to-work states head the list in attracting new business.


So the bloggers have managed to kill one of Maryland’s economic development selling points. Congrats! Although… businesses familiar with Maryland’s economic environment probably would have doubted it in the first place. According to CNBC’s rankings, Maryland’s workforce ranked 41st in the nation. Hard to spin that as a positive.

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