Release: Report Shows Maine Workers Moving to “Right-to-Work” States with Stronger Economies


24,338 Mainers, representing $800 million in income, fled to “Right-to-Work” states from 2003 – 2008

A study released today finds that allowing workers to decide whether or not to join a union can be great for a state’s economy. The report from The Maine Heritage Policy Center  (MHPC) shows that Mainers are leaving the state and moving to “Right-to-Work” states, or states where workers cannot be forced to join or financially support a labor union a t their place of employment.

According to the report, 15,694 Maine households, representing nearly 25,000 Mainers, moved from Maine to Right-to-Work states between 2003 and 2008. This out-migration of Maine workers represents $801 million in adjusted gross income.

On the other side of the spectrum, Oklahoma, since becoming a Right-to-Work state in 2003, has seen growth in population, gaining nearly 41,000 people and $99 million in income from 2003 to 2008 alone. Of the new Oklahoma residents, 31,367 relocated from non-Right-to-Work states. Before passing Right-to-Work, Oklahoma had lost 10,681 households representing $1 billion in income between 1995 and 2002.

“What is clear from the Oklahoma example is that Right-to-Work states are attracting new business, new residents and economic growth,” said Scott Moody, Chief Economist for The Maine Heritage Policy Center. “Maine has suffered from ‘brain drain’ and out-migration to Right-to-Work states for many years, and this study shows us one reason why – Right-to-Work states are providing better economic opportunity than we are.”

Additionally, the report found that by instituting Right-to-Work in Oklahoma, the GDP of the manufacturing industry, a staple of Oklahoma’s economy, increased by 45 percent from 2003 to 2010. This growth can be directly attributed to an increasingly productive workforce.

“Maine has a great opportunity to make a move that will undoubtedly boost our economy without costing taxpayers or government a dime,” said Moody. “By implementing Right-to-Work here in Maine, we are opening the door to increased workforce productivity and less out-migration of Mainers to Right-to-Work states.”

“For too long, forced unionization has held back economic growth in Maine,” said Lance Dutson, CEO of The Maine Heritage Policy Center. “This study demonstrates just how damaging that can be to the workforce and our population. It’s time to protect our workers individual liberty and open the door to economic prosperity by bringing Right-to-Work to Maine.”


Download the full report here (PDF)