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In a recent speech calling Tim Kaine a "friend of labor," President Barack Obama took a swipe at states — including Virginia — that have right-to-work laws. Not surprisingly, he misrepresented not only the laws but the facts.
The president says right-to-work laws are an attempt to "take collective bargaining rights away." No, they aren't. Unions can still bargain collectively in right-to-work states. What they can't do is make union membership a condition of employment.
The president also said he likes to call right-to-work "right-to-work-for-less laws." Good one. But studies about wages in right-to-work versus non-right-to-work states differ; some say they're higher, others say they're lower. And others note that both economic output and wages have risen faster in right-to-work states.
What's more, last year PolitiFact looked into Fox host Bill O'Reilly's claim that unemployment is lower in right-to-work states. The fact-checkers noted that while the difference is not great, and while one could argue about causation, the claim was "mostly true." They went on to note that "none of the economists we spoke to thought the gap was especially surprising, either now or historically."
So here's a wager: We bet that nine out of 10 people would prefer to have work that might or might not pay slightly less, than to live in a state where wages might or might not be higher — but have no work at all.