February 13. 2013 5:41PM

Another View: How's that right-to-work opposition working out for NH?


A right-to-work law is back in the news in New Hampshire. The Democrat-led House of Representatives defeated it Wednesday. The Democrats asserted that citizens with the right to choose whether to pay union dues or fees for employment only have a right to a lower standard of living and lower wages; that the very idea of a right to work is driven by radical ideology. Clever? Yes. Correct? You decide.

My perspective is that of someone who is north of three score in age, politically Independent, having been registered as a Democrat for many years. I've lived in New England for more than 30 years and have lived or spent large amounts of time in all other regions of this country.

Do you remember when there was a Digital Equipment Company (DEC) facility in just about every other town in southern New Hampshire? Do you remember when Raytheon and Cisco employed lots of folks here? Do you remember Hadco/Sanmina? These and other companies (employers of large numbers of folks, paying really good wages) are all gone from here. What has taken their place here in the last 10 to 15 years? How do folks make similarly good wages as were made with those employers?

Twenty-four states have right-to-work laws. What kind of economic activity has been occurring in those over the same time we have seen so many companies leave? Can you say BMW and Boeing in South Carolina? KIA in Georgia? Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Honda and AirBus in Alabama? Honda in Mississippi? Toyota in Texas and Tennessee? Do you believe that anyone working there has accepted a "lower standard of living" by taking those jobs?

In a June 12, 2012, article about 22,000 people applying for about 900 new jobs at an Alabama Hyundai plant, it was noted that the average salary at Alabama's three auto assembly plants "tops $54,400, according to data from the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama," which contrasted with the "overall annual average wage in Alabama (which) is $34,600."

And what was one of the major reasons these manufacturer's moved to these states? Right-to-work laws. Workers could choose whether to join the UAW or other union, whether to pay dues or fees; they would not be forced to give up their right to choose what they wanted to do.

Since DEC, Cisco, et al, left New Hampshire, what companies have moved in here offering large numbers of jobs at 160 percent of the average income? Who? Where? How about anywhere in New England?

Now please don't tell me that you really don't want any such manufacturing jobs to come here; please don't say that you don't want folks to be able to make 160 percent of the average wage just because they would work in a large manufacturing plant. Who would not like to get a slice of the kind of economic pie those other states got?

And what company is going to move into any New England state knowing that their employees will be forced to join a union or pay fees if their workforce has unions? Who?

So, what are the objections to right-to-work laws all about, then? Money and politics. Unions contribute large amounts of cash to the Democratic Party, which uses that in its efforts to reelect Democratic candidates to political office. Unions are a major contributor to the Democratic Party, and Democratic elected officials in turn "scratch the unions' back" while in office. That makes a nice team.

Unions have indeed played a very positive role in labor relations in the United States over the past century. But should you be forced to join one or to contribute to one because the company where you want to work is unionized? Should you not have the right, in a free society, to choose whether to join or to contribute? Since union dues and fees go to the Democratic Party war chest, should you not have the right to decide whether to contribute to that party?

I believe that the citizens of this great state can see beyond the doublespeak of Democratic Party opposition. Do you actually believe that having the right to choose is giving up your rights? When Democrats say that wanting a right to work is driven by radical ideology, that it will destroy middle-class values, do you actually believe those claims?

When one has no substance to one's argument, then one resorts to the kind of baloney that the Democratic Party is dishing out. Does real economic opportunity and growth, as seen over the past 20 years in these states with right-to-work laws, mean more to you than keeping Democrats in power means to you?

Now, those are important facts. The denial of your right to work is in fact the one thing guaranteeing you "the right" to a lower standard of living, a "right" to lower wages, a "right" to miss out on a big economic pie, a "right" to being forced to contribute to the Democratic Party.

Which right is more important to you?

Charles Grubbs is a software engineer in Manchester.