The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

South Carolina Earns a “B” in Worker Freedom

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The Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) has released a state-by-state comparative study that includes an Index of Worker Freedom. The index is based on both an analysis of state labor policies and quantitative data on employment.

The report concludes that workers and employers are fleeing states with low levels of worker freedom—that is, heavily unionized states—in favor of states with high levels of worker freedom.

The Index of Worker Freedom ranges from 0 to 15. States with a 0 rating earn an “F” while a 15 earns an “A.” As a strong right-to-work state, South Carolina rates a 10, earning a “B” grade, according to AWF.

As we wrote in our Best/Worst 2009, South Carolina has had right to work laws on the books since 1954. Currently, the state has the third-lowest union membership rate (3.9%) in the country, just behind North Carolina (3.5%) and Georgia (3.7%).

Just how important are South Carolina’s right-to-work laws? Essential, it would seem. Back in October we guessed Boeing was really coming to South Carolina, not because of a half billion economic incentives package, but in order to take advantage of the state’s labor climate.

After all, a 52-day strike last summer cost Boeing billions, with analysts projecting the cost of the work stoppage at $100 million a day or $5.2 billion in deferred revenue.

Subsequently, Boeing CEO Jim Albaugh acknowledged that the real reason Boeing chose to expand operations in South Carolina had to do with the cost of strikes at their facility in Puget Sound .

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Written by Robert Appel

August 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm

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