The budget crisis in Wisconsin has radicalized both Liberals and Conservatives on the issue of Collective Bargaining. While the Governor Scott Walker just wants to place limitations on the collective bargaining of government workers, some Conservatives are actually likening Unions to antitrust violations, implying that unions are inherently bad and actively harmful.
Labor unions like to portray collective bargaining as a basic civil liberty, akin to the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and religion. For a teachers union, collective bargaining means that suppliers of teacher services to all public school systems in a state—or even across states—can collude with regard to acceptable wages, benefits and working conditions. An analogy for business would be for all providers of airline transportation to assemble to fix ticket prices, capacity and so on. From this perspective, collective bargaining on a broad scale is more similar to an antitrust violation than to a civil liberty...While the current state of unions may be a problem, the fact is they into existence because of abuses by management. History is like a pendulum that oscillates between extremes. Let's not over-correct against the abuses of unions without recognizing their virtues.
There is evidence that right-to-work laws—or, more broadly, the pro-business policies offered by right-to-work states—matter for economic growth. In research published in 2000, economist Thomas Holmes of the University of Minnesota compared counties close to the border between states with and without right-to-work laws (thereby holding constant an array of factors related to geography and climate). He found that the cumulative growth of employment in manufacturing (the traditional area of union strength prior to the rise of public-employee unions) in the right-to-work states was 26 percentage points greater than that in the non-right-to-work states.