Missouri Poised To Complete A Right-To-Work Ring Around Illinois

Flag of the state of Missouri
Missouri State Govt.

Any day now, Illinois will be completely surrounded by right-to-work states. The Missouri governor is expected to make his state the sixth one to adopt such a law in the last few years.

Right-to-work means even if employees get the pay and benefits of a union contract, they don’t have to pay union dues.

What does that mean for the economy in big labor states that become right-to-work? The experts say … they don’t know.

Gary Burtless is a labor economist at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D-C. He says you find weaker unions where there are right-to-work laws -- but it’s not clear which leads to which.

“Whether they’re weaker because they were weaker to begin with, and the right-to-work law just is the proof that they’re weak politically as well as economically weak is the question”, said Burtless. “Because of a lot of other things may have happened to either improve the situation of workers or make their situation worse...the mix of industries. It’s very hard to control for everything.”

The Chamber of Commerce says Illinois can still compete with its right-to-work neighbors -- if lawmakers take up Governor Bruce Rauner’s pro-business agenda.

The political ramifications of right-to-work laws are more cut and dried than the economic ones. Unions are among the main financial backers of the Democratic Party.

Republicans in Congress are pushing for national right-to-work legislation. The White House says President Trump is in favor.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio