Right to Work Laws Liberty, Prosperity, and Quality of Life

This article looks into the different state laws and other legislations that have been passed over the decades with regards to the guidelines to be adhered to as far as employment and wages are concerned within the United States.  Specifically, it focused on answering the question as to whether or not such state laws and legislations violate the right of an individual to freedom of choice. 

    According to the article, one of the economic dimensions of individual liberty is the right to sell ones labor services without attenuationthat is, without limits on the terms of the agreement (Vedder 2010, p. 171).  With the implementation of various state laws and legislations since the 1930s beginning with the Davis-Bacon Act and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, many have viewed these statutes and legislations to impede the freedom of employees in the United States with the restrictions and limitations provided on the amount of wages an employee receives with regards to the amount of hours worked.  The ability of an individual to be hired is also narrowed down based on his or her membership in a particular union, since the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 mandated that all individuals must be a member of a particular union for them to be hired (Vedder 2010).

    Over the years, efforts have been made in order to restore some form of freedom to individuals when it comes to their exercising their right to freedom of choice on whether they would want to become a part of a union, as well as not making this a requirement for them to receive employment.  At the present, 22 states in the country have been classified as right-to-work states, where individuals can be hired regardless on their membership to a particular union.  As a result, these 22 states have seen a rise in population due to migration.  In 2008, these right-to-work states saw a 40 increase in their population growth brought about by the migration of individuals seeking employment from states that still make it a requirement to be part of a union to be hired as an employee.  On top of this, right-to-work states have also reported lower unemployment rates as compared to non-right-to-work states as well as higher economic growth rate per capita experienced by right-to-work states compared to non-right-to-work states (Vedder 2010).

    In the United States, none is more important to the general public than their ability to exercise their right to choose.  From the type of religion that they practice to selecting the next president of the country, Americans practice this freedom each and every single day.

    It is common knowledge that while individuals may apply for a particular position in a certain company, it does not guarantee that they would be immediately hired.  Naturally, there are a number of things that must be taken into consideration such as their years of experience, the manner on how they answer the interview questions, and other credentials.  All of these things are carefully taken into consideration to make sure that the successful candidate for the position is able to fulfill the responsibilities of the job being applied for.

    The presence of certain states that require that a candidate for a particular position in a company to be part of a particular union to be even considered for the position being applied for is indeed a violation of the freedom of choice on the part of the prospective applicant.  While it is indeed the right of the American people to assemble and form an organization based on their beliefs and principles, joining these unions must remain to be a matter of choice on other individuals.  Prospective employees must not be pressured into joining a particular union just so that they would be able to land a job and to begin to establish themselves in the career path that they have selected. 

    Based on the information provided in the article, it is not surprising to see the negative effects these legislations mandating the membership to a particular union has on the growth of the economy of these states.  Because of this mandate, companies eventually compromise on selecting lesser qualified individuals for certain job positions on the grounds that the more qualified ones are not members of the union that is recognized in the company.  On top of this, many of the otherwise qualified candidates that do not wish to become a member of any labor union would migrate to other states where becoming a member in a labor union is a matter of choice and not a pre-requisite.  Not only is there depletion in competent workforce that is present in these non-right-to-work states.  This would also result to the slow economic growth of the state due to the favoring of membership in a particular labor union as opposed to the skills, experience and qualifications of the candidate.

    The United States has been considered as the Land of the Free.  Part of this freedom includes the right of an employee to choose whether or not he or she would want to be part of a particular labor union.  In closing, non-right-to-work states must be open to learn from the growth and quality of life experienced by individuals living in right-to-work states on the benefits of making membership to labor unions optional rather than mandatory, specifically in terms of economic growth and prosperity.


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