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Right-to-work would be wrong for Ontario

Joshua Mandryk

May 29, 2012

In this op-ed published by the Toronto Star, Joshua Mandryk examines whether claims surrounding the supposed benefits of “right-to-work” legislation hold up under scrutiny.

Responding to the introduction of a private member’s bill seeking to make Ontario the first “right-to-work” province, Josh argues that “the case for bringing right-to-work legislation to Ontario rests on dubious economic evidence.”  While proponents look to the United States to claim that states with right-to-work laws generally enjoy greater economic growth than those without , “this claim does not withstand scrutiny”:

It rests on the faulty logic of lumping together 23 enormously divergent states that have one law in common. This overly broad generalization ignores the role played by other factors such as demographics, weather and natural resource wealth. Texas, for instance, the single largest right-to-work state, has a very large oil and gas sector that bolsters its economic performance.

Noting that right-to-work laws are pushed by corporate front-groups funded almost entirely by anti-union employers, Josh also rejects the argument that right-to-work legislation benefits workers:

A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute found that when individual and state-level demographics were controlled for, unionized workers in right-to-work states made 3.2 per cent less than free-bargaining states, and non-unionized workers made 3 per cent less. This translates into a full-time worker in a right-to-work state making approximately $1,500 less than their counterparts in free-bargaining states. Unionized and non-unionized workers in right-to-work states were also 4.8 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively less likely to have an employer-sponsored pension plan.


Joshua Mandryk

Practice Areas

Labour Law