Right-to-Work Bill Proposed in New Hampshire

Published January 21, 2017

New Hampshire legislators are considering a bill that would allow workers to opt out of union membership, freeing them from being forced to join a union as a condition of employment.

In January 2017, state Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield) introduced Senate Bill 11, which would prohibit labor contracts requiring workers to join or contribute to a union against their wishes.

If lawmakers approve the bill and Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signs it into law, New Hampshire would become the 28th state to approve right-to-work legislation.

Increasing Worker Freedom

Charles Arlinghaus, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, says the bill gives workers more power over how their money is spent.

“It allows workers the opportunity to choose for themselves whether the union is earning their support or not,” Arlinghaus said.

‘Striking’ Job Growth Gap

Arlinghaus says workers in right-to-work states enjoy more economic prosperity than those in forced-unionism states.

“The job growth divide between states with and without right to work is striking,” Arlinghaus said. “According to federal statistics, in the decade from 2002 to 2012, employment in right-to-work states increased by 6.6 percent, but in the forced-dues states, [it only increased] by 0.3 percent. Lest you think the quality of jobs was affected, wages in the right-to-work states increased by 12.5 percent in that period, while they were up just 3.1 percent in the forced-dues states.”

Arlinghaus says ending forced unionism is just one step toward making New Hampshire better for consumers and workers.

“No one issue will change New Hampshire’s economy, and sky-high electric rates are still our biggest growth obstacle, but any tool for attracting jobs will make a difference in some areas,” Arlinghaus said. “The impact of being the only right-to-work state in the region suggests modest positive recruitment effects.”

More Jobs Available

Walter Wessel, an economics professor at North Carolina State University, says right-to-work laws can have a sizeable impact on job growth, especially manufacturing jobs.

“States having a business-friendly environment, including having right-to-work laws, have relatively more manufacturing jobs,” Wessel said.