CLC president Ken Georgetti published a letter in the Ottawa Citizen on July 18, 2012 in response to an opinion piece carried in the paper. In that article, Jonathan McLeod repeated the claim that is common in some business and political quarters that the imposition of so-called right-to-work legislation creates higher rates of growth in American states that use it. Georgetti challenged McLeod’s research.
In his opinion piece, Jonathan McLeod says bringing Southern U.S. state labour laws to Ontario will bring prosperity to the province. He claims that U.S. states which have eliminated or reduced the ability of workers to join unions have better rates of economic growth than others. He cites a study by Thomas Holmes to support his claim, but fails to mention that Holmes himself makes no such claim. Holmes has said right-to-work states historically pursue a number of other “smokestack-chasing policies such as low taxes, aggressive subsidies and even, in some cases, lax environmental regulations. Thus my results do not say that it is right-to-work laws that matter, but rather that the ‘pro-business package’ offered by right-to-work states seems to matter.” Those “pro-business” packages have resulted in the average full-time worker in a right-to-work state earning $1,500 less a year than a similar worker in a non right-to-work state. Is that the kind of economy Ontario’s Conservatives aspire to for this province?
With small businesses already complaining that low demand for their products and services is their biggest concern, making working Ontarians poorer is the wrong path to recovery.