Virginia Democrats are committed to fighting for workers’ rights—even if that means chasing away the businesses that employ them in the first place.
After years of policies making Virginia one of the most attractive states for businesses in the United States, Democrats threaten to drive away job creators coming to the Commonwealth by increasing the cost of doing business across the state.
Virginia ranked Top State for Business in 2019 according to CNBC, marking its fourth number-one ranking in 13 years. In the years when Virginia did not come in first, it consistently placed among other top states. These scores are largely due to a number of economic policies aimed at making Virginia’s business climate as competitive as possible.
Virginia is one of 28 states with “right to work” laws, which prohibit an employer from requiring its employees to join a union or pay union dues. Democrats have become increasingly opposed to right-to-work laws, claiming they give “freeloaders” the same benefits as dues-paying members without requiring them to pay for the costs of representation.
Ultimately, they claim, right-to-work laws weaken unions and lead to lower wages and benefits.
Research into right-to-work laws has another story to tell. One NERA study found that these laws have no noticeable effects on wage rates and sometimes can even lead to gains in wages and benefits. Others, like a study from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, suggest that right-to-work laws are connected to employment growth, income increases, and higher production rates for businesses.
Economists also warn against blaming right to work for unions’ low membership or weak bargaining power. Instead, they say that many states likely choose to pass right-to-work laws because of their low union membership. In other words, states opt for these protections because the majority of their workers do not want to join–or be forced to join–unions.
In spite of this, Democrats continue to push their rallying cry of “stronger unions!” and “raise the minimum wage!” The catastrophic result will be a series of laws upsetting the economic balance between employer and workers, ultimately spiking the unemployment rate and driving businesses out of Virginia.
“Basic economics shows that raising labor costs leads businesses to reduce their workforce and increase the cost of goods and services,” said Del. Joe McNamara, (R-Roanoke). “While the intent of [increasing the minimum wage] is to raise families out of poverty, it will have the opposite overall effect by reducing incomes for low-wage workers.”
This is not to mention the financial impact on small and family-owned businesses, who will be among those most directly affected by minimum wage increases. In essence, it appears that Democrats’ new policies stem from a vague and idealistic notion of “helping workers,” rather than a data-driven, economically-sound approach.