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  • Commentary posted December 18, 2014 by James Sherk Right-to-work law would protect Wisconsin workers

    Michael Romanchock recently got let go. But he was not "downsized." His employer had no issues with his performance. Romanchock got fired for not paying dues to the Teamsters. His experience demonstrates how right-to-work would help Wisconsin's workers and unemployed. Romanchock started his job in June last year. This March, the Teamsters sent him a letter demanding…

  • Backgrounder posted December 16, 2014 by James Sherk Creating Opportunity in the Workplace

    Workers face many challenges in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Wages and job opportunities have grown slowly since the recovery began five years ago, while technology continues to change the nature of work. While many workers enjoy opportunities unimaginable a generation ago, many others feel the economy has left them behind. Policies that make employees more…

  • Commentary posted December 15, 2014 by James Sherk The Kentucky County That Builds the Corvette Is About to Become Right-to-Work

    The momentum for right-to-work measures at the local level across the country might be gaining steam: Kentucky’s Warren County, which includes the city of Bowling Green, just passed a local right-to-work ordinance. A 5–1 bipartisan majority of the county legislature voted to make union dues voluntary for private-sector workers. The measure comes up for a second and final…

  • Issue Brief posted December 12, 2014 by James Sherk Right-to-Work Laws: Myth vs. Fact

    Many states and local governments are considering right-to-work laws. These laws make union dues voluntary. Without them, union contracts make paying dues a condition of employment. While most Americans support the concept of right-to-work, unions argue strenuously against them. However, most of the arguments against right-to-work have little basis in fact. Myth:…

  • Issue Brief posted December 4, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., James Sherk Trade Adjustment Assistance: Let the Ineffective and Wasteful “Job-Training” Program Expire

    Members of Congress should be wary of reauthorizing the ineffective and wasteful Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. Trade Adjustment Assistance should be considered on its own merits and not linked to legislative proposals, such as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Similarly, TPA should be evaluated independently based on its merits and not tied to unrelated…

  • Commentary posted November 10, 2014 by James Sherk Unions Spent Millions in 2014, and Came Up Empty

    Perhaps the biggest story of Tuesday night is the dog that barked but didn’t bite: the unions. Virtually every politician they targeted won. This was not expected. Midwest conservative politicians had passed a raft of recent labor reforms, and union leaders had threatened electoral retribution against them. But on election night, nothing happened. Consider: In 2011…

  • Commentary posted October 31, 2014 by James Sherk Why Right-to-Work Works

    When the Teamsters Union came knocking, Michael Romanchock refused to pony up the dues the union demanded. After all, he had worked nine months at his jobsite—a Pepsi bottling plant in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania—and didn’t even know it was unionized. Why pay for services you cannot notice? This May, union officials threatened to have him fired if he didn’t pay the dues,…

  • Commentary posted October 28, 2014 by James Sherk Why Has Wage Growth Stagnated?

    By many measures the labor market is improving smartly. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in September—not far from the level many economists consider typical during normal economic conditions. The number of job vacancies has jumped almost one-fifth since the start of the year, while employers have created 2.6 million net new jobs over the last 12 months.…

  • 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…