As Oklahoma recently marked the 10-year anniversary of our “Right to Work” law, new evidence suggests the law is not just working, but working extraordinarily well.
Oklahoma’s law, which prohibits employers and labor unions from agreeing that union membership and dues are required as a condition of employment, was passed by a vote of the people and added as an amendment to our state Constitution in 2001.
Recent research by OCPA shows that Oklahoma’s manufacturing output has grown dramatically since Right to Work was implemented, far outstripping the national average, and that population growth and net income are way up compared to non-Right to Work states.
The State Chamber recently reported that Oklahoma’s personal per capita income (PCPI) has grown from $23,517 in 2001 to $35,268 in 2010, a 50 percent growth rate over that period. From 1999 to 2008, Oklahoma had the fourth highest PCPI growth rate in the nation, primarily due to Right to Work.
None of this should be surprising. A new report by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research shows that states with Right to Work laws experience tremendous economic and population growth and have fewer uninsured citizens and welfare recipients relative to states with laws that force employees to join unions.
As we celebrate the success of Right to Work in Oklahoma, it is worth remembering that economic growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum. When government allows market participants to compete on a level playing field by reducing – or preferably, eliminating – tax burdens and regulations, productivity, output and personal income increase. Much more is left to do, but Right to Work gives us hope that Oklahoma is on the right track.
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