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  • Commentary posted September 8, 2014 by Andrew Kloster, James Sherk Why Your City or Town Could Be the Next Step for Right-to-Work

    Should workers have to pay union dues to keep their job? Unions think so — their contracts require companies to fire workers who do not pay up. Fortunately, many states have passed “right-to-work” (RTW) laws that prohibit this coercion. Unions, however, have blocked right-to-work in 26 states, but this doesn’t mean that unionized workers in these states must pay up. In…

  • Backgrounder posted September 4, 2014 by James Sherk Not Looking for Work: Why Labor Force Participation Has Fallen During the Recovery

    Originally published August 30, 2012—Revised and updated September 4, 2014 The American economy is experiencing the slowest recovery in 70 years. In addition to persistently high unemployment, labor force participation has fallen sharply since the recession began in December 2007. Today, 6.9 million fewer Americans are working or looking for work. This drop accounts for…

  • Issue Brief posted September 4, 2014 by James Sherk Higher Fast-Food Wages: Higher Fast-Food Prices

    Union activists want to raise the minimum wage in the fast-food industry to $15 an hour. However, fast-food restaurants operate on very small profit margins; they could only afford such wages by raising prices—significantly. Higher prices would, in turn, drive customers away, forcing even larger price increases to cover costs. Ultimately, the average fast-food restaurant…

  • Backgrounder posted August 26, 2014 by James Sherk, Andrew Kloster Local Governments Can Increase Job Growth and Choices by Passing Right-to-Work Laws

    Union contracts often compel employees to pay union dues or lose their jobs. This forces workers to support the union financially even if the union contract has negative consequences for them or they oppose the union’s agenda. Twenty-four states have passed “right-to-work” (RTW) laws which prevent companies from firing workers who do not pay union dues. RTW laws expand…

  • Commentary posted August 19, 2014 by James Sherk How do you leave a union you don't know you belong to?

    Americans are fascinated with secret societies. From articles about the Illuminati to news reports on the Bilderberg Group, people love to speculate on furtive conspiracies. Now imagine an organization so secretive, even its own members don't know they belong to it. It sounds absurd, but a half million Americans belong to this secret club. It's likely that every week…

  • Commentary posted August 6, 2014 by James Sherk Unions for Big Businesses

    Would you like to own a small business someday? If so, sorry — the Service Employees International Union would rather you didn’t. The SEIU has convinced the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to eviscerate the franchising model that many small-business owners rely on. Under the current model, these small-business owners pay for the right to use a corporate brand. The…

  • Testimony posted August 6, 2014 by James Sherk IRS Abuses: Ensuring that Targeting Never Happens Again

    Testimony before Oversight and Government Reform Committee U.S. House of Representatives Chairman Issa, Ranking Member Cummings, and Members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify this morning. My name is James Sherk. I am a Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this…

  • Commentary posted July 31, 2014 by James Sherk Welcome the Robots

    Is the increasing automation of our economy a threat to American wages and jobs? Should the American worker fear the rise of the robots? No, not really. Eighty years ago, John Maynard Keynes warned that society faced “a new disease” of “technological unemployment” in which the “means of economizing the use of labor [were] outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses…

  • Commentary posted July 31, 2014 by James Sherk, Emily Goff Bridges to Nowhere are no Economic Stimulus

    Standard and Poor’s just published a report sure to warm special interest hearts. The ratings agency argues that spending an additional $1.3 billion on infrastructure would boost the economy by $2 billion, create 30,000 jobs AND reduce the deficit. If true, more infrastructure spending is a no-brainer. Sadly, this economic free lunch does not actually exist. S&P’s report…

  • Testimony posted July 15, 2014 by James Sherk What Do Workers Want? Union Spending Does Not Reflect Member Priorities

    Testimony before State Government Committee Pennsylvania House of Representatives Chairman Metcalfe and Members of the State Government Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify this afternoon. My name is James Sherk. I am a Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be…

  • Issue Brief posted June 13, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., James Sherk Job-Training Reform: Finding Out What Works

    Last month, congressional negotiators reached a bipartisan deal to reauthorize Department of Labor (DOL) job-training programs. Overall, the compromised legislation, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), continues the funding of federal job-training programs that have a long history of failure based upon the results of large-scale experimental…

  • Commentary posted June 12, 2014 by James Sherk Shorter Work Weeks: the New Normal?

    Marsadeise Barginere, a food service worker in Cleveland, has had her hours cut from full-time to part-time. She's not alone. Luke Perfect "barely scrape(s) by" at his job in a Subway in Maine. Nonetheless his employer will also put him on part-time status once Obamacare takes effect. Workers all across America have seen their hours cut. Just search for "work hours cut"…

  • Backgrounder posted June 12, 2014 by Filip Jolevski, James Sherk Shrinking Workweeks: A Sign of Unequal Recovery from the Great Recession

    Five years after the end of the Great Recession, the labor market remains weak. In May 2014, the unemployment rate stood at 6.3 percent, matching the highest rate following the 2001 recession. Labor force participation has fallen to levels not seen since the Carter Administration, when far fewer women worked outside the home than do today. Policymakers and the media have…

  • Issue Brief posted May 22, 2014 by Rachel Greszler, James Sherk Equal Pay for Equal Work: Examining the Gender Gap

    The White House and many in Congress argue that employers pay women less than men for the same work. They point to figures showing that women earn 77 cents for each dollar men earn.[1] Such statistics ignore other factors that influence pay. Education, choice of industry and occupation, hours worked, experience, and career interruptions all affect the productivity—and…

  • Issue Brief posted May 12, 2014 by James Sherk Citizen Approval of Government Pay: Require Public Ratification of Union Contracts

    Many state and local governments face severe financial problems, driven in part by rising compensation costs of state and local government workers. Union political influence enables them to co-opt the collective bargaining process. When they negotiate with politicians elected with their help, unions can control both sides of the bargaining table to the detriment of the…