James V. Shuls

A recent op-ed in the Columbia Missourian calls Right to Work “an attack on our entire community.” If Missouri passes Right to Work, the author warns, we will see “a negative ripple effect on their communities financially, politically, socially and spiritually.”

And over the past few months in Missouri we’ve seen claims like this made repeatedly in anti–Right to Work advertisements. Show-Me Institute chief economist Joe Haslag recently wrote about one such ad that claimed that in Oklahoma, passage of Right to Work caused wages to fall while simultaneously encouraging businesses to leave the state. That just doesn’t make any sense!

Suffice it to say, I’m used to seeing this type of over-the-top claim in opposition to Right to Work, so I wasn’t surprised by most of the arguments in the Columbia Missourian piece. That is, until I got to the part where the author argued against Right to Work because it would make it harder for unions to engage in political activity. She writes, “weaker unions mean less organized ability to advocate for social justice issues and progressive campaigns.” That’s exactly the point! Conservatives, libertarians, and many other Missourians do not want to be forced to support “progressive campaigns” and policies they don’t agree with. That’s why they want out.

As stated in the Show-Me Institute’s 2018 Blueprint, “Right to work ends forced unionism and lets workers decide whether joining a union best serves their interests.” The economic arguments for and against Right to Work are important, but the fundamental issue here is worker freedom. Should someone be forced to support causes they disagree with as a condition of being employed? The answer seems obvious.

About the Author

James Shuls
James Shuls
Distinguished Fellow of Education Policy

James V. Shuls is an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and Distinguished Fellow in Education Policy at the Show-Me Institute.