North Carolina has long been a weak spot for organized labor, and according to 2014 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, our state once again ranks as the least unionized in the nation. With just 1.9 percent of workers represented by unions, only 76,293 of the 3.6 million people employed in the state in 2014 were members of labor groups. As far as economic indicators go, this is one list we do not mind falling at the bottom of, as it indicates the strength of North Carolina’s right-to-work (RTW) status. However, with such weak union representation resulting from sharp declines in the past decade – union membership has dropped by more than 30,600 since 2005 – labor groups have already pinpointed North Carolina as a focal point in their reallocation of resources to the south.
With this shift in focus by organized labor, it has become more important now than ever for the aligned business community to recognize the importance of right-to-work for the health of our competitive business climate. As outlined in North Carolina Vision 2030, our state’s right-to-work status has played a key role in its history as a regional economic leader. Numerous studies show that RTW can stimulate growth in jobs, wages and per capita personal income while having beneficial consequences for state tax revenues. In order to be as competitive as possible in attracting new companies and enhancing the economic prospects of all those that call our state home, the NC Chamber continues to fight to protect North Carolina’s status as a right-to-work state.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber