Study finds So-Called “Right to Work” laws harm the working class

So-Called “Right to Work” laws have fractured the labor movement, all while failing to make good on promises to provide more opportunities for workers.

Illinois Economic Policy Institute Policy Director Frank Manzo discussed the harm in So-Called “Right to Work” laws using a study recently published by the Illinois EPI and explained what needs to be done to get working people back on track.

Promoting good jobs

Manzo said it will be important to promote good jobs as the U.S. economically recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. This begins with collective bargaining, according to Manzo. When workers come together, wage conditions and more improve.

Many workers do not understand the collective bargaining process, or what can be gained from it. Manzo said it will be critical to educate workers about collective bargaining, the process and how their lives can improve.

The problem with So-Called “Right to Work”

A recent study conducted by Manzo and the rest of the Illinois EPI team found that workers in So-Called “Right to Work” states earn lower wages and work under worse conditions.

Manzo went on to explain the mess created by these anti-worker laws, including the toll they take on families. Studies find that these laws lower the average quality of life and increase reliance on welfare programs. There are also safety implications, such as the fact that states with these laws typically have a higher workplace fatality rate.

The dangers of independent contracting

Finally, Manzo discussed a study on wage theft and payroll fraud. This has increasingly become a problem in recent years, as more workers are misclassified as independent contractors. The result is dangerous.

Independent contractors are not granted the same protections as those classified as employees. Many times this includes workers’ compensation and other insurances for those injured or killed on-the-job. Additionally, those working in states where this is common are found to earn less than more strict states.


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