The Union Leader is reporting that the New Hampshire House of Representatives has just passed a right-to-work bill 221 to 131. Currently, 22 states have right-to-work laws and none in New England so this is huge. The closest right-to-work state to Maine is Virginia.
Richard Vedder, the Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Economics at Ohio University, has an excellent article in the CATO Journal which describes the national movement of people and economic growth toward right-to-work states (pdf). He concludes:
“The proportion of Americans living in right-to-work states has risen noticeably over the years, and only a small part of that is driven by new states adopting such laws. People move in extraordinary numbers to right-to-work states from states where union pressure has prevented the adoption of such laws. Moreover, the greater flexibility for workers and employers offered where right-to-work exists has contributed to higher rates of economic growth rates in the right-to-work environment. Although the United States seems to have been in roughly a stable political equilibrium regarding these laws in recent decades, if the past trends toward the right-to-work population growing in a relative sense persists while union membership continues to fall as a proportion of the labor force, a threshold point should be passed where the political equilibrium should tip toward making right-to-work laws universal for the entire American population.”
Needless to say, if New Hampshire succeeds in their push to achieve right-to-work status, it will be a huge blow to Maine’s economic competitiveness.