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Thursday, August 9, 2012

What Happens in a “Right to Work” State?

            The term "Right to Work" refers to those states where laws have been passed that prohibit the enforcement of "union security" provisions in union contracts.  This term is misleading because these laws have nothing to do with ensuring or promoting any "right" to "work."  

            "Right-to-work for less" laws allow employers to hire without cause or giving any reason for termination. It exempts them from many lawsuits, but not all, over discrimination and wrongful termination.

             Right to Work States include states with a wide range of laws limiting labor organizing and setting up one sided protection for employers. The only effect of these so-called "right to work" laws is that in these states, union security provisions are not enforceable.  Accordingly, in these states, while union contracts are still binding on employers and union membership is still legal, unions are prohibited from compelling individuals to pay any dues or initiation fees, even though such individuals are working under and benefiting from a union contract. 

               Also, in so-called right to work states, unions are still legally required to represent all individuals who are employed under a union contract, even if an individual refuses to pay dues and initiation fees to the union. This puts a drain on union resources and negatively impacts the benefits and security of dues paying union membership.

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