Right-to-Work will improve lives of Granite Staters

For the past half-decade, our state hasn’t experienced the economic growth that we could have, leaving thousands of our friends, family, and neighbors behind. That’s partly because in 2011, then-Gov. John Lynch vetoed a Right to Work bill that would have given more freedom and opportunity to New Hampshire workers.

Six years later, our state Legislature now has the chance to right that wrong by passing right-to-work in the Granite State.

The economic results of right-to-work are clear and have convinced a majority of states to prioritize worker freedom in state law. Missouri is likely to join the pro-worker freedom movement and pass the legislation this year, joining 27 others. New Hampshire should do the same if our lawmakers truly believe in our state’s motto, to "Live Free or Die."

Right to Work laws give all workers an equal shot at employment-and therefore, an equal shot at a better life. Such laws prevent workers from being required to join a union or pay dues to get or keep a job. Employment opportunities shouldn’t be dependent on workers being forced to pay dues to an organization they disagree with.

Numerous studies have shown that wage growth and private sector job growth is stronger in states with Right to Work. Passing such a law here would likely encourage businesses to come to New Hampshire, creating jobs, increasing our productivity, and improving the quality of life for all in the Granite State.

This means that fewer of the 100,000 Granite Staters who travel to work in another state would have to get up early and fight traffic to leave the state to get a good job. Less time commuting means more quality time with family and friends, time to relax and enjoy hobbies-all of which contribute to greater well-being.

Here are the facts-and what they mean for our people. Between 2001 and 2013, Right to Work states saw private sector growth increase by 17.4 percent, more than doubling the percent increase in non-right-to-work states. A faster-growing economy would benefit everyone who calls New Hampshire home, leading to more jobs, higher incomes, and many other tangible benefits.

States that have passed Right to Work recently have seen an increase in both job and wage growth. As the only right-to-work state in the Northeast, the benefits to New Hampshire would likely be even greater. And we certainly need the growth. In 2015, New Hampshire’s GDP grew at 1.4 percent compared to the national average of 2.5 percent.

Moreover, a study by West Virginia University found states that had passed worker freedom saw their GDP grow by a factor of 6.5 between 1963 to 2013-significantly faster than non-Right to Work states. A strong GDP reflects a state’s ability to produce goods and services, and shows that residents have the ability to buy products.

Being able to afford necessary items like bills and groceries, while also treating yourself to an occasional night out requires stable wages. Without a right-to-work law preventing mandatory union membership, workers can have a chunk of their paycheck deducted every month with limited ability to stop it.

Consider the Teamsters Union. The union dues are 2.5 times the worker’s hourly wage taken each month. So if you earn $20 an hour, that’s $50 taken monthly from your pay in addition to all other state and federal taxes, health care and other benefits that are deducted. The cost of dues might not seem like a lot, but it adds up and could be used somewhere else. Say you want to take your spouse and two kids to a movie Friday night in Merrimack – the cost for those four tickets is roughly $38.

And last but not least, research shows that major businesses are less likely to consider opening in locations with compulsory union dues. Right here in New Hampshire, we’ve seen Sturm Ruger choose to pass over our state for expanding its operations, precisely because New Hampshire is not a Right to Work state.

Not everyone is employed in jobs with unions, but passing Right to Work will benefit everyone. Right to Work laws have proven that they bring a plethora of benefits to the states that enact them, and Granite Staters deserve the opportunity to see those benefits here.

The fact is Right to Work should have become law in 2011. Hopefully, our General Court and Gov. Chris Sununu will make it a reality this year. If they do, they’ll improve the life of everyone who calls our state home. Is there anything more important?

Greg Moore is the New Hampshire State Director of Americans for Prosperity. He previously served as the Chief of Staff of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.