Libertarians and right to work laws

by Walter Olson on December 19, 2012

My colleague David Boaz surveys the views of libertarians who criticize right to work laws as a (further) incursion on free contract (Sheldon Richman, Gary Chartier) and those who by contrast emphasize its possible advantages as a second-best solution amid a national labor law regime decidedly unfriendly toward liberty of contract (David Henderson, Shikha Dalmia). To which might be added the views of Steve Chapman, who finds the issue’s importance overrated, Robert VerBruggen vs. J.D. Tuccille; Iain Murray (second best); and critic Milton Friedman.

Meanwhile, Stephen Bainbridge recommends a history of the right to work movement by George Leef, Daniel Fisher notes that unions have been quite successful in some states like Nevada that do have right to work (on which more). And Mickey Kaus notes, regarding the wider debate: “Instrumental political arguments have become the major defense of Wagner Act unionism.”