Robert Barro writes “The national fiscal crisis and recession that began in 2008 had many ill effects, including the ongoing crises of pension and health-care obligations in many states. But at least one positive consequence is that the required return to fiscal discipline has caused reexamination of the growth in economic and political power of public-employee unions.” Other economists such as Richard Freeman have nicer things to say about unions.
In my own research , Erin Mansur and I have documented that manufacturing industries that are highly labor intensive (their average labor to capital ratio is high such as Apparel and furniture manufacturing) tend to cluster on the Right to Work sides of state borders. So, our findings build on Tom Holmes’ work. He treated “manufacturing” as one industry. We disaggregate it into 21 subindustries (based on the 3 digit NAICS code) and thus can study how different types of manufacturing industries respond to union rules.