When voters head to the polls on November 8, 2016, they will vote on two proposed constitutional amendments. One of these proposed constitutional amendments is the "Right to Work" amendment, or Amendment 1.
The Right to Work amendment establishes constitutional protection for workers who do not want to be forced to join a union. This amendment would make it unconstitutional to force any employee to join a union or pay union dues in order to get a job or keep the one they currently have. This amendment protects the rights of workers and protects workplace freedom. Joining a union should be a choice, not a mandate from union bosses or special interests.
Right to Work helps our economy. Businesses, especially large manufacturing businesses, prefer right to work states. Almost 40% of manufacturers insist on operating in Right to Work states.
Income growth is also higher in Right to Work states. Over the last decade, income growth has been higher in right to work states than forced-unionization states. Income in Right to Work states grew by 15.5% compared to 9.6% in forced-unionization states.
Right to Work states consistently have lower unemployment rates than forced-unionization states. The median unemployment rate in right to work states is 4.6% compared to 5% in forced-unionization states.
Right to Work states are creating more jobs than forced-unionization states. Over the last decade, private sector employment in right to work states grew by 15.9% compared to 9.6% in forced-unionization states.
In the past decade, two states that were force-unionized states are now Right to Work states, Wisconsin and Michigan. Since Wisconsin adopted its Right to Work law in 2015, unemployment has dropped by nearly one percent. Since Michigan adopted its Right to Work law in 2012, unemployment has dropped from 9 percent to just over 5 percent.
Passing Amendment 1 in the Constitution of Virginia is important. Even though Right to Work is already the law, Constitutional protections are stronger and harder to overturn. The right to work and work without fear of coercion should be permanently enshrined in our state bill of rights. I encourage you to vote YES on Amendment 1, "Right to Work."