Governor Frank Keating and the Right to Work

By Brandon Dutcher

When Oklahomans (and Americans) think of former Governor Frank Keating, they doubtless remember his grace and dignity in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing.

But as someone who works at a public policy think tank in Oklahoma City—and who interacted with Governor Keating during his two terms in office—it’s his leadership on matters of state policy that I remember most.

In an article published in 2000 in Investor’s Business Daily, I pointed out that Governor Keating—despite opposition from the good ol’ boys who then controlled the state legislature—had been able to promote, and in many cases push through, important reforms such as tax cuts, privatization, and real education reform. What I didn’t know at the time was that the best was yet to come.

 He knew that college graduates… should not be forced to join a labor union against their will.

Governor Keating understood “the importance of freedom in the labor market,” Congressman Jim Bridenstine reminded us in the March 8 chapel service dedicating the Keating Center.“Throughout his two terms he fought to make Oklahoma a Right to Work state. He knew that college graduates, like many of you soon will be, along with others in our state searching for employment, should not be forced to join a labor union against their will.”

In September 2001 Oklahomans went to the polls and approved State Question 695, popularly known as “Right to Work” (RTW), a constitutional amendment which indeed gives every Oklahoma employee the choice of paying—or not paying—a labor union as a condition of employment.

Victory has a thousand fathers, of course, but Frank Keating (along with newspaper publisher Edward L. Gaylord and RTW campaign maestro Marc Nuttle) is at the top of that paternity list. Year after year Governor Keating called for Right to Work in his State of the State address, and year after year he was booed and jeered by disrespectful souls in the gallery. But he persevered, and his leadership—both from the bully pulpit and behind the scenes—was key to bringing labor-market freedom to Oklahomans.

As a serious and learned Catholic, Governor Keating is doubtless aware that “Catholic social teaching has unequivocally endorsed some form of trade unionism,” as Charles W. Baird has written (Liberating Labor: A Christian Economist’s Case for Voluntary Unionism). However, Baird adds,

                    Too often, Catholics, lay and ordained, have simply assumed that
                    Catholic social teaching supports all trade unions set up under the
                    auspices of democratic governments. … In my judgment, Catholic
                    social teaching supports voluntary, and condemns compulsory,
                    unionism. In the United States, the statute that defines the rules of
                    unionism is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which was
                    originally enacted in 1935 and was amended in 1947 and again in
                    1959. My hypothesis is that NLRA-style unionism is inconsistent
                    with Catholic teaching.
  

It’s also inconsistent with economic growth, as Governor Keating never tired of repeating and as economist Richard Vedder later confirmed. Writing in The Cato Journal (“Right-to-Work Laws: Liberty, Prosperity, and Quality of Life“), Vedder found there is “a very strong and highly statistically significant (at the 1 percent level) positive relationship between Right-to-Work laws and economic growth. … This is a powerful finding: a seemingly modest change in the legal environment in which labor markets operate has a significant impact on the rate of economic growth.”

Right to Work increases jobs and choices, adds Heritage Foundation policy analyst James Sherk. Indeed, since 2009, Right to Work states have created four times as many jobs as forced union states and—put this one in the “unintended consequences” file—may have contributed to President Obama’s re-election.

Speaking of unintended consequences, journalist Tom Gantert pointed out last month that Right to Work states are actually gaining union members while non-Right to Work states are losing hundreds of thousands of union members. “Oklahoma, for example, passed Right to Work in 2001. In 2000, it had 96,000 union members. Slowly the number of union members in Oklahoma has grown to 115,000 in 2012.”

But in the end, the economic arguments are not paramount. In “The Ethical Case for Right to Work,” free-market economist Cecil Bohanon, an Okie from Muskogee, says “the scholarly literature is not definitive as to the impact of Right to Work.” But even if its economic impact is minimal, Bohanon says he supports Right to Work. “It is a simple matter of justice,” he says. No doubt Governor Keating agrees.

A personal note: The Right to Work campaign produced several great television commercials, one of which featured an Oklahoma Wesleyan University graduate named Susie Dutcher and her beautiful children. At the victory party, an ebullient Governor Keating told me how great Susie’s ad was. The campaign’s pollster told me the ad demonstrably moved the polling numbers.

About Guest Author: Brandon Dutcher

Brandon Dutcher

Dutcher is vice president for policy at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a conservative think tank. A Bartlesville native, Dutcher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. He received a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public policy from Regent University. Dutcher is listed in the Heritage Foundation Guide to Public Policy Experts and is editor of the bookOklahoma Policy Blueprint, which was praised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman as “thorough, well-informed, and highly sophisticated.” His articles have appeared in Investor’s Business DailyWORLD magazine, the Sacramento Bee, The Oklahoman, and more than 190 newspapers throughout Oklahoma and the U.S. He and his wife, Susie, have six children and are members of Heritage Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Edmond.

Leave a Reply

92 Responses to “Governor Frank Keating and the Right to Work”

  1. Frank Keating

    Brandon:
    I am flattered and impressed by you and your wonderfully presented piece. You are a star in a hugely important firmament of bright, decent, thoughtful and important conservative intellectuals.
    Thanks for all that you do and continue to do.
    All the vey best.
    Frank Keating

    Reply
  2. D Bro

    What timing! I just heard Jim Marshall speak on this issue tonight. I believe he helped write the legislation after pushing the issue like the governor did. I have never been a member of a union but wages in this country have not even kept up with inflation. I have never felt the union a threat but I know there have been real live cases to fear them as Jim pointed out.

    Reply
  3. Arnette

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked
    submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyways, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

    Reply
  4. acquire rental

    Good day! I simply wish to offer you a big thumbs up for your great information you have got here on this post.
    I am returning to your website for more soon.

    Reply
  5. Brenton

    Thank you for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your
    efforts and I am waiting for your next post thank you once again.

    Reply
  6. Augusto de Arruda Botelho

    Thank you for every other informative web site. Where else may
    I get that kind of information written in such a perfect way?
    I have a undertaking that I am simply now working on, and I have been at the glance out for such information.

    Reply
  7. Fanny

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for highest paying jobs requiring an associates degree

    Reply
  8. Beatris

    This is the perfect blog for everyone who
    would like to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue
    with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject that has been discussed for a long time.

    Great stuff, just great!

    Reply
  9. Augusto de Arruda Botelho

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four
    e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you
    can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

    Reply
  10. Augusto de Arruda Botelho

    Have you ever considered creating an e-book or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would enjoy
    your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

    Reply
  11. Nannie

    I know this web page offers quality dependent posts and extra stuff, is there any other site which offers these data in quality?

    Reply
  12. Claudio

    Hi everyone, it’s my first visit at this website, and article is genuinely fruitful in support of me, keep up posting these articles.

    Reply
  13. Jonathon

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both
    equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the
    nail on the head. The problem is an issue that too few people are speaking intelligently about.
    I’m very happy I came across this in my hunt for something concerning this.

    Reply
  14. Josette

    With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of
    plagorism or copyright infringement? My blog has a
    lot of unique content I’ve either created myself
    or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all
    over the web without my agreement. Do you know any techniques to help reduce content
    from being stolen? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    Reply
  15. Olga

    Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance
    from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog?
    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.

    I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to start.
    Do you have any tips or suggestions? With thanks

    Reply
  16. Milla

    It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that
    you shared this useful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  17. Saul

    This design is steller! You definitely know how to keep a reader
    amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to
    start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really loved what you had
    to say, and more than that, how you presented
    it. Too cool!

    Reply
  18. windows data recovery

    excellent put up, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of
    this sector do not understand this. You should proceed your writing.
    I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

    Reply
  19. Deidre

    I really like what you guys are usually up too.
    This type of clever work and coverage! Keep up the great
    works guys I’ve included you guys to our blogroll.

    Reply
  20. Valencia

    Asking questions are in fact nice thing if you are not understanding anything totally, however this post presents
    pleasant understanding yet.

    Reply
  21. Norma

    If you desire to increase your know-how simply keep visiting this website and be updated with the most up-to-date news posted here.

    Reply
  22. scale pest

    Hello my family member! I wish to say that this article is awesome,
    great written and include almost all important infos. I’d like to
    see extra posts like this .

    Reply
  23. Andres

    Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect
    against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything
    I’ve worked hard on. Any tips?

    Reply
  24. Steven

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew
    of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my
    newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and
    was hoping maybe you would have some experience
    with something like this. Please let me know if you
    run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    Reply
  25. Erick

    Heya i am for the first time here. I found this
    board and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot.

    I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

    Reply
  26. Trey

    This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which
    helped me. Cheers!

    Reply
  27. Dale

    I every time spent my half an hour to read this website’s posts
    every day along with a cup of coffee.

    Reply
  28. Etta

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after browsing through
    a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly happy I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking
    it and checking back frequently!

    Reply
  29. Grover

    magnificent put up, very informative. I’m wondering why the
    opposite specialists of this sector do not understand this.
    You should proceed your writing. I am sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

    Reply
  30. houstonkcafe.com

    Wow! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much
    the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!

    Reply
  31. Jamie Frazer-mann

    Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same
    time as you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog web site?
    The account helped me a applicable deal. I were tiny bit
    familiar of this your broadcast provided vibrant transparent
    idea

    Reply
  32. Ariane Slinger ace

    My family always say that I am wasting my time here at web,
    but I know I am getting experience daily by reading such good articles or reviews.

    Reply
  33. Modesta

    each time i used to read smaller posts which as well clear their motive, and that is also happening
    with this piece of writing which I am reading at this place.

    Reply
  34. Sofia

    I’ll right away grasp your rss feed as I can not in finding your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Kindly permit me recognize so that I may subscribe.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  35. hydrogen fuel car

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz respond as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to know where u got this from.
    cheers

    Reply
  36. car computer exchange

    Does your site have a contact page? I’m having a tough time
    locating it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail.
    I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it improve over
    time.

    Reply
  37. Brenton

    What a information of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious knowledge on the topic of
    unpredicted emotions.

    Reply
  38. http://wiki.piesdokwadratu.pl/wiki/Uytkownik:Felix13834

    Excellent site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any user discussion forums that
    cover the same topics discussed here? I’d
    really love to be a part of community where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that share the
    same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let
    me know. Many thanks!

    Reply
  39. Toni

    Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that
    it’s really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels.
    I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Many people will be
    benefited from your writing. Cheers!

    Reply
  40. Terrell

    It’s awesome to go to see this web site and reading the views of
    all colleagues regarding this paragraph, while I am also keen of
    getting familiarity.

    Reply
  41. Breanna

    Hi just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a
    few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried
    it in two different internet browsers and both show the same outcome.

    Reply
  42. female thinning hair

    great points altogether, you simply received a
    new reader. What could you recommend about your put up that you simply made a
    few days ago? Any certain?

    Reply
  43. http://dimensionstradingintl.com/

    I do believe all of the ideas you’ve presented in your post.
    They are very convincing and can definitely work.
    Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for starters. May just you please extend them a bit from next time?
    Thank you for the post.

    Reply
  44. Javier

    Thanks for the good writeup. It in truth used to be a entertainment account it.
    Look complex to far introduced agreeable from you! However, how can we be
    in contact?

    Reply
  45. Silvia Odete Morani Massad

    My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was totally
    right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time
    I had spent for this information! Thanks!

    Reply
  46. Logan

    Hello, everything is going sound here and ofcourse every one is sharing facts,
    that’s genuinely good, keep up writing.

    Reply
  47. plasticwiki.org

    First of all I would like to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to
    ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your
    head before writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my
    ideas out. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems
    like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be
    wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any
    ideas or hints? Kudos!

    Reply
  48. Cynthia

    I think the admin of this web page is really working hard in support of his web page,
    for the reason that here every material is quality based stuff.

    Reply
  49. named global resorts

    Howdy would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re using?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say this
    blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you recommend a
    good hosting provider at a fair price? Thanks, I
    appreciate it!

    Reply
  50. car computer exchange

    I believe everything posted was very reasonable. However,
    what about this? what if you wrote a catchier title?
    I am not suggesting your content isn’t good, however what if you added
    a title that makes people desire more? I mean Governor Frank Keating and the Right to Work – The
    Keating Center is a little boring. You might peek at Yahoo’s home page and see how they create article titles to grab people interested.
    You might try adding a video or a pic or two to get readers excited about what you’ve got to
    say. In my opinion, it would bring your posts a little bit more interesting.

    Reply
  51. wiki.griffins.com

    Link exchange is nothing else but it is simply placing the other
    person’s webpage link on your page at appropriate place and other person will also do similar for
    you.

    Reply
  52. Otis

    It’s the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you
    few interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.

    I desire to read more things about it!

    Reply
  53. court custody determination

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

    Reply
  54. http://www.casa-d-angelo.com

    Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to generate
    a very good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never
    seem to get nearly anything done.

    Reply
  55. Alejandro

    Its such as you learn my thoughts! You appear to understand a lot about
    this, like you wrote the e book in it or something.
    I believe that you simply can do with a few p.c.

    to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, that is magnificent blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

    Reply
  56. Karol

    I don’t even understand how I finished up here, however I believed this submit used to be good.
    I don’t know who you’re however definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger should you aren’t already.
    Cheers!

    Reply
  57. Rachele

    Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this blog.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s difficult to get that “perfect balance” between usability and
    visual appeal. I must say you’ve done a very good job with this.
    In addition, the blog loads very fast for me on Opera. Outstanding
    Blog!

    Reply
  58. Myrtis

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!
    Very helpful information specifically the last
    part 🙂 I care for such information much. I was looking for this certain info for
    a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

    Reply
  59. car remotes

    Hello to every , because I am in fact eager of reading this weblog’s post to be updated on a regular basis.
    It includes nice information.

    Reply
  60. van hire amount

    Whats up very nice website!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful ..
    I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally?

    I’m glad to find so many helpful information right here within the put up, we’d like work out more strategies
    in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . .
    .

    Reply
  61. Debbra

    You can definitely see your enthusiasm within the article you write.

    The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe.

    All the time go after your heart.

    Reply
  62. openkon.com

    Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other
    person’s weblog link on your page at suitable
    place and other person will also do same in support of you.

    Reply
  63. cruise ship employment

    whoah this weblog is fantastic i really like reading your articles.
    Keep up the good work! You already know, a lot of persons are looking
    around for this info, you could aid them greatly.

    Reply
  64. Ines

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I
    stumbleupon on a daily basis. It’s always helpful to read
    through articles from other authors and practice something from other
    sites.

    Reply
  65. Analisa

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in reality was once a leisure account it.
    Glance advanced to more introduced agreeable from you!
    By the way, how can we keep up a correspondence?

    Reply