Reprinted from The Capitol Times newspaper, Madison, WI – Letters to the Editor
March 05, 2015 2:15 pm
Dear Editor: The article “UW study: Manufacturing jobs earn $8,100 less in right-to-work states” implies that the $8,100 differential is wholly the result of right-to-work legislation, which at best is ignorant and at worst, disingenuous. Right to work is only one factor in a broad mix that determines prevailing wages. Other factors, such as the history and types of manufacturing prevalent in a state or region, the cost of living (including state and local personal taxes), percentage of jobs that are manufacturing versus other, etc., are just a few of the myriad factors. The cause-effect conclusions drawn in this article are not supported by the other information contained in the article.
This reminds me of a few years back when it was widely reported that individuals with high amounts of dental plaque had higher rates of heart disease and therefore, better dental care could reduce the incidence and severity of heart disease. Was that true or was the reality simply that people with high amounts of dental plaque were typically poor and therefore, had poorer overall health and health care, including dental care, and a higher overall incidence of both dental plaque and heart disease?
It is dangerous to use a few statistics that are not necessarily closely correlated and draw broad conclusions from them. When this is done by supposedly highly intelligent and well-educated university researchers, one can only wonder if a politically motivated agenda is not the true impetus.
A 40-year career in corporate leadership and global consulting has led me to be carefully skeptical of research on emotionally charged issues that is based upon a minimal factual basis. As an innovation strategist, I learned long ago to ensure that cause-and-effect relationships are real and not merely emotionally compelling, before reporting or acting upon them.
John Di Frances