Battle of the states: California versus Florida
In part two of our new series, Battle of the States, Florida takes on California on the benefits of right-to-work laws.
Unionize or not to unionize
The most basic understanding of right-to-work laws are that they severely weaken unions and the ability to unionize. On the anti-union side of the argument, proponents argue that is unfair to force employees to pay dues to unions. Unions require these dues to protect employees interests through collective bargaining and campaign contributions to pro-union candidates.
Pro-union proponents argue that unions protect the best interests of their members while companies are more focused on profit. They argue that unions protect and promote a strong middle class, by giving employees a stronger voice collectively.
California does not currently have any right-to-work laws, while Florida made it official in 1968, meaning Florida exemplifies the long term affects of right-to-work legislation.
Unions are strong in California, with a higher percentage of union members then the national average (17.2 percent of employed.) The number is considerably lower in Florida at 5.8 percent in 2012, a drop from 6.3.
Let’s look at the assumption that unions help strengthen the middle class. If you define the middle class as those household making between $50,000 and $149,999 annually, California does in fact have a larger middle class.
Income distribution is also better in California. In Florida, households making less then $50,000 (which is over $17,000 below the median income in Calif.) account for more then half of the total household income in that state.
What about the assumption that right-to-work laws encourage job growth?
Both the unemployment rate, and the percentage of change since 2007 are better in Florida, however, both California and Florida are not near the top. Jobs and firms added since 1991 are again better in Florida.
General job generation seems to be better in Florida, while the quality of living is better in California as made evident by the data provided from census.gov. This would suggest that right-to-work laws create lesser quality jobs with low wages (as evident by a larger amount of lower income households in Florida).
So depending on priorities, wether it is solely job creation, or also the type of jobs being generated either state could be declared winner in this battle.
Our next battle: Massachusetts versus Mississippi on political philosophy.