While forced union dues-funded “think tanks” like the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute and Big Labor bosses themselves like to portray monopolistic unionism as a balm for America’s racial and ethnic minorities, year after year vast numbers of blacks,  Asians and Hispanics send a clear message that they don’t agree by flocking to jurisdictions where the Right to Work is protected by law.

In a commentary published this week that is based on a study he recently prepared with his Center for Opportunity Urbanism colleague Wendell Cox, Chapman University professor and pundit Joel Kotkin looks at recent patterns of migration, home ownership, self-employment and income to assess which metropolitan areas are best for African Americans and other minority groups.  (See the link below to read the entire commentary.)

Kotkin argues that, regardless of people’s race or ethnicity, they fare best in regions “that have experienced broad-based economic growth, have low housing costs, and limited regulation.”  And although they don’t mention this fact specifically, 15 of the 17 cities that Kotkin and Cox rate as “the best” for blacks (Atlanta, Raleigh, Charlotte, Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Orlando, Miami, Richmond, San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Nashville, Birmingham, Memphis and Jacksonville) are located entirely in Right to Work states, and one additional city in the top 17 (Washington, D.C.) is located largely in Right to Work Virginia.

African-Americans are manifestly “voting with their feet” for Right to Work:

Between 2000 and 2013, the African-American population of Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Raleigh, Tampa-St. Petersburg and San Antonio [eight metropolitan areas located entirely within Right to Work states] all experienced growth of close to 40 percent or higher, well above the average of 27 percent for the nation’s 52 metropolitan areas with more than 1 million residents. 

The picture for large metropolitan areas located in forced-unionism states could hardly be more different:

In contrast, the African-American population actually dropped in five critically important large metros that once were beacons for black progress: San Francisco-Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit [all Big Labor bastions before 2013, and all except Detroit still located in forced-unionism states today].  In many cases, most notably in San Francisco, blacks have become the unintended victims of soaring housing prices and rampant gentrification, with little option to move to the also high-priced suburbs.   Today, suggests economist Thomas Sowell, the black population of the city itself is half that of 1970; the situation has changed so much that former Mayor Gavin Newsom even initiated a task force to address black out-migration.

“Foot voting” by Americans of Asian descent follows a remarkably similar pattern, as the Kotkin-Cox study shows.  Among the top 10 metropolitan areas for 2000-2013 Asian population growth, nine (Raleigh, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Nashville, Phoenix, Orlando, Atlanta, Richmond and Austin) are located in states with longstanding Right to Work laws, and one (Indianapolis) is located in a state that prohibited forced union dues in 2012.  Eight of the 10 bottom-ranking metro areas for Asian population growth (Rochester, Chicago, San Diego, San Jose, Providence, Cleveland, San Francisco and Los Angeles) are in states that still lack Right to Work protections today.  One (Grand Rapids) is located in Michigan, whose Right to Work law took effect only in 2013.  And only one (New Orleans) is found in a state with a longstanding Right to Work law.

The Kotkin-Cox study also documents a strong net migration of Hispanics from Big Labor-controlled jurisdictions to places where unionism is voluntary.  They do not look at where non-Hispanic whites are moving to and from, but Census data confirm that they are voting against compulsory unionism with their feet just as other racial and ethnic groups are doing.

The fact is, it is hard to think of a subgroup of Americans who prefer to live in a state where employees can be fired for refusal to fork over dues or fees to an unwanted union — other than union officials themselves, of course!

The net out-migration of African Americans from Big Labor-dominated San Francisco has been so persistent and severe that former Mayor Gavin Newsom actually established a task force to investigate whether anything could be done to reverse the trend.  Image: San Francisco Examiner file photo

 

The Changing Geography of Racial Opportunity

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