Higgins Labor Program Research Report on "Right to Work"

In 2012, Indiana became the first state to become "right to work" since Oklahoma in 2001, and five have joined the list since then. As of February 2017, twenty-eight states have "right to work" statutes governing private sector employment. What does "right to work" mean? Why is it such a contested term, and why does it produce such heated debate? Most importantly, do "right to work" laws help workers and their communities?

Answers to these questions can be found in the Higgins Labor Program's (HLP) 2011 research report,"Right to Work" vs. the Rights of Workers. Authored by then HLP Director Marty Wolfson (now Professor Emeritus of Economics), with contributions from colleagues Dan Graff (Professor of the Practice in History and current HLP Director) and Valerie Sayers (Professor of English), the report provides clarity on the origin, evolution, and meaning of "right to work" while offering substantial analysis and data refuting the benefits of such legislation.

Though published in 2011, the report remains a great introduction to the topic and a must-read for those concerned about boosting workers' wages, fostering healthy communities, and enhancing economic democracy.

Right to Work Research Report

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Interested in up-to-date news and analysis on "right to work" matters? See the good work being done by our friends at the Economic Policy Institute.