Wage math and unions
Charles Krauthammer [“The right-to-work dilemma,” op-ed, Dec. 14] claimed that the decision to pass right-to-work legislation is a “wrenching choice” between “higher wages or lower unemployment.” However, if we apply some basic mathematics, this wrenching choice becomes obvious — obviously in favor of strengthening unions.
Mr. Krauthammer reported that right-to-work states have 10 percent reduced wages and 10 percent reduced unemployment. If we start with an employment pool of 100 people, unemployment of 10 percent and a base wage of $100, then a unionized state will have 90 employees making $100, for a total of $9,000 in wages. If this state should become a right-to-work state, then unemployment drops to 9 percent (now there are 91 employees) making $90 each, for a total of $8,190 in wages.
Mr. Krauthammer claimed liberals are “more incline[d] to spread the wealth.” But who wants to more evenly distribute a dramatically smaller pie?
Alex Waldauer, Chittenango, N.Y.
In this democracy, nobody should be forced to join an organization or have to contribute to one. What a union should do is push for legislation stipulating that only its members can benefit from contracts negotiated collectively. Non-union employees would have to deal with their employers individually. If the union can provide a better compensation package than what workers get on their own, there will be an incentive for employees to join the union. If the union can’t get a better wage and compensation, then it deserves to lose members.
Eric Greenbaum, Tampa