What is the Meaning of a "Right-to-Work State"?

March 23, 2015
A Right-to-Work state is one that has enacted A right-to-work law. Sanctioned by Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, the law guarantees that no person can be compelled to join a union as a condition of employment. The right-to-work states outlaw the closed shop, which required all new employees to join the union after a minimum period of employment. To date 24 states, roughly half the nation have enacted right-to-work laws.
Living in a right-to-work state does not give you a right to a job. It only means that if you are hired you do not have to join a union or pay union dues. but the union is obligated to represent you in every respect. That's the rub for unions. Employees can freeload by having union benefits without paying their fair share. It's clearly a union busting law.

The right-to-work law has little effect on union construction projects because employers are bound by contract to use union hiring halls. The employees are already union members or temporary permit workers. even in right-to-Work states, PLA contracts allow unions to collect partial union dues or representation fees.

The War on Collective Bargaining

Right-to-Work was not a dream concocted by workers toiling under oppressive union dues. It is an employer driven initiative to insure that workers have a right-to-work for less. The real purpose is to destroy the unions.

The recently voted in Wisconsin right-to-work law was copied word-for-word from a model written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a pay-to-play bill mill operation where state legislators and corporate lobbyist like Koch Industries meet in secrecy to write model bills that benefit corporate interest.

In yet another assault on labor, a group of GOP senators have endorsed the National right-to-work bill (HR 946) introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA). Rand Paul has introduced a similar bill (S. 204).

In the past, the democratic party could always depend on strong union support and unions made sure that the Democrats had the power to protect their interest. That political bond is no longer as strong as it once was. As union members become fewer their block vote becomes less of a factor in elections, In addition, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case now requires unions to refund any part of their member's dues that are used for political activity.

How Does This Effect You as a Non-Union Worker?

The right wing of the GOP and the Tea Party intend to chip away at every law that benefits American workers, both union and open shop. Most of these laws were won by or influenced by union activity. Member or not, American wage earners need the political influence of strong unions.