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Why Right to Work Zones Are Bad for Small Business


By David Borris – Owner Hel’s Kitchen Catering

Small businesses are the driving engine of our economy. We produce more than half of all the jobs and economic output of the U.S. Small business has created two out of every three net new jobs in this country since 1995.

While things are getting slightly better for some American businesses, recovery since the Great Recession has been sluggish because we haven’t been able to get enough money in the pockets of low and middle income workers. Virtually all of the new wealth created since 2009 has gone into the pockets of the wealthiest individuals and corporations.This hurts small businesses that require a sustainable market for their goods and services. A healthy economy needs money circulating widely in a virtuous cycle of rising wages, consumer demand and job creation. What we decidedly DO NOT need is a change in the laws that will result in wages being driven LOWER, resulting in less money in the pockets of working men and women who are the lifeblood of local businesses.

According to an independent study by The Economic Policy Institute, using data from the U.S. Department of Labor- A worker represented by a union earns, on average $198 more per week than nonunion workers. That is a lot of money in a worker's pocket.  And it is money that can be spent in the local economy, at my business, and businesses just like mine.

Additionally, 78% of private sector union workers have access to medical insurance through their jobs, compared with only 51% of non-union workers, which represents another piece of financial stability that benefits the entire business community.

Finally, 77% of private sector union workers have access to a retirement plan through their jobs, compared with just 20 percent of nonunion workers. This is a critical piece of the long term arc of economic stability.

Right to work in local communities will do NOTHING to benefit those communities. It is merely a stalking horse for a larger anti-worker, and I would suggest, anti-small business agenda that will serve the wealthy at the expense of the rank and file local community.

In understanding the lesson of wage growth, we can learn from that great titan of American business, Henry Ford, who doubled his workers’ wages a century ago. He did this for two reasons:

  1. High employee turnover was affecting his product’s quality
  2. He wanted his employees to be able to afford the product they spent their day creating.

We understand, as Ford did over 100 years ago, that the financial health of our workforce becomes the financial ability of our customer base to sustain us, and that reverberates directly to our bottom line.

Let’s be sure that we are VERY CAREFUL not to do anything that will result in lower wages at a time that this economy so desperately needs a boost from its historic engine, the middle class wage earner.

Please say NO to right to work.