I found the 2005 and 2010 values for nominal gross state product of US states. I looked up Wikipedia for which states were right to work states. Over the five years, right to work states grew ten percent relative to non right to work states –
That is to say, after five years, the average growth in nominal GDP for a right to work state was 1.231, that is to say, twenty three percent, five percent a year, while the average growth in non right to work states was 1.135, that is to say, thirteen percent, or two and half percent per year – probably negative real growth when inflation is taken into account.
Most left wing policies are federally enforced, rather than state enforced, thus this must massively understate the economic effect of leftism. Chances are that the effect of state plus federal leftism over five years is far higher than ten percent of GDP – which explains our current economic decline: Society has massively moved left, therefore must become correspondingly poorer.
If a state is not “Right to work”, this means that a “bargaining unit” can be unionized by vote – so if fifty percent of the people in your “bargaining unit” sign up, and vote in a secret ballot, you find some of your pay is being deducted to support full time political activists, and you are now on a union health care scheme that provides markedly fewer benefits and markedly higher cost than your old health care scheme.
This sounds bad, but in practice is worse. For the individual, signing or not signing makes no difference to the likelihood that a deduction will be made from his pay, since he is unlikely to be the one that makes a difference between 50% and 49%, but it makes a very large difference to the likelihood that he will have his legs broken. So the rational individual choice is to sign regardless of what the individual thinks of the union. This is not too bad, provided a secret ballot is required, but a secret ballot is not always required. Sometimes you get a union imposed on the basis of card check alone, that is to say, on the basis of broken legs, depending primarily on how cozy the union is with the government, as compared to how cozy the employer is. Federal legislation requires a secret ballot, but of course, the federal government is not required to obey its own laws, and frequently does not.
In a right to work state, however, you only get dues deducted from yourself individually if you yourself individually sign up, with the result that the dues tend to be lower, and the union health scheme does not suck so much, and, of course, the rational individual choice is not to sign up regardless of what the individual thinks of the union, making leg breaking correspondingly more hazardous.
In practice, right to work states do not have markedly fewer strikes and labor disputes. They do, however, have markedly fewer full time left political activists.