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Families in right-to-work states are better off

by Ralph Heller


or some years now the differential between the wages of union and non-union workers has been narrowing. According to the June 16 issue of National Review, by 1982 the wage advantage enjoyed by union members had been reduced to 7.1 percent, and by 1985 the gap had been narrowed to 4.4 percent.

In the first quarter of this year the tables were finally turned, and unionized workers are now receiving wages that are 0.8 percent less than their non-union countrymen. But what the press has rarely fully explained to the American electorate is the fact that when a state's taxes and cost of living are factored into family income figures, families in so-called "Right-to-Work" states have long enjoyed a financial advantage over families in state in which compulsory union membership still exists.

Nevada is one of 21 right-to-work states and has long enjoyed the advantages derived from this protection of both employees' and employers' rights, the most obvious competitive advantage being our state's robust economy. Yet there are those, especially those overly dependent on union dollars for their political war chests, who would challenge Nevada's right-to-work law in a minute if we were to let them.

In this month's cover story NPRI Research Analyst D. Dowd Muska reviews the history of legislation regarding unions that ultimately led to the protective right-to-work laws in nearly half the states, and provides readers with an informed look at where the battle for freedom in the workplace stands today. You'll also find a graph depicting those dramatic differences in how families really fare economically in both compulsory union states and right-to-work states. Yet there are those who would sacrifice these advantages, incredibly, and we call Mr. Muska’s feature "'Right-to-Work' Under Siege."

Updating last month's cover story on United Nations World Heritage Sites in the U.S., Nevada Journal Managing Editor Erica Olsen in this issue reports yet more UN monkeyshines to compromise U.S. territorial integrity, so-called "Biosphere Reserves" which are scattered all over the U.S. Spotting unerringly what this really means for Americans, she calls her report "More Interference in Land Use Regulation."

Also in the centerfold of this issue, Ms. Olsen has gathered together from a variety of impressive sources thumbnail sketches of six currently popular environmental myths that control our nation, notwithstanding abundant evidence to the contrary. NPRI will expose a few more of these environmental myths next month.

This year's legislative session brought forth the usual political posturing about taxes, intentionally leaving officially unanswered the question of whether or not Nevada citizens are already over-taxed.

But unofficially, of course, everyone has long known that Nevada is a high-tax state--indeed, a very high-tax state--which is why bond issues are harder and harder to sell. Meanwhile, while waiting for Nevada's political leaders to tell us the truth, I gathered together a few of the tax facts and comparisons I thought you'd find interesting for this issue in an article rhetorically entitled, "Is Nevada Really A High-Tax State?"

Finally this month NPRI turned not to an editor or researcher but to NPRI Business Manager Marilyn Medina for a brief article about official English. Born in the Philippines, Miss Medina brings an especially personal and knowledgeable perspective to the article she calls, unambiguously, "Official English Does Not Mean Discrimination."

Elsewhere as you browse through this issue you'll find a column from Elko County's Resident Wise Man, Dan Steninger, along with some of NPRI's recent radio commentaries and our usual features - just the sort of reading you'll find enjoyable on a warm Nevada night. u

Ralph Heller is Senior Consulting Editor of Nevada Journal.


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