Decline of Unions Under Right-to-Work Laws Levels Playing Field for Trump

(The Daily Signal) Donald Trump prevailed where other Republican presidential candidates failed in Midwestern states in part because of new right-to-work laws that have diminished the power and influence of the teachers’ unions, according to labor policy analysts.

Final election results have Trump narrowly winning Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes by a margin of 47.9 to 46.9 percent over Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. Trump had 1,409,467 votes to Clinton’s 1,382,210.

Photo by WisPolitics.com

In Michigan, the margins were even closer with Trump winning that state’s 16 electoral votes with 47.6 percent against Clinton who had 47.3 percent of the vote. Trump had 2,279,805 votes to Clinton’s 2,268,193.

“Did the labor reforms enacted in Wisconsin and neighboring Michigan help Donald Trump win those states?” Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom, said in an email to The Daily Signal. “No question in my mind. Hard to fight when your bazooka’s been replaced by a squirt gun.”

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Two teachers’ unions, the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Michigan Education Association, both experienced a significant drop in membership since those states passed right-to-work legislation. Such laws prohibit employers from entering into agreements that make union membership and payment of union dues a condition of employment.

Wisconsin became a right-to-work state in 2015, Michigan in 2013. Since then, government figures show, the teachers’ unions in both states have lost thousands of dues-paying members.

The drop has been particularly precipitous in Wisconsin, where in 2011 Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation that reformed the state’s collective bargaining process. In fact, the Wisconsin Education Association Council has lost about 60 percent of its members since Walker’s reforms were implemented, an analysis of public records by the Education Intelligence Agency shows.

Under Act 10, also known as the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, most of Wisconsin’s government workers, including public school teachers, are now required to contribute more for their pension and health care benefits….

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