Right-to-Work Law Right-to-work laws are statutes enforced at state level which prohibits agreements between labor unions and employers that require either membership, payment of dues or fees a condition of employment. “Right-to-work” does just that, it gives employees the opportunity to work and get paid without getting tangled in politics and legislation if they chose not to be involved. As of now 22 states, mostly southern and western states have declared themselves as “Right-to-Work” States.
Union Shops When an employer makes an agreement with the unions, they are generally referred to as a “Union Shop.” Union Shops don’t require that you become a member before being hired, but membership is required within a certain time period after you begin working.
History of Right-to-Work The Taft-Hartley Act, which was passed by Congress after President Truman vetoed it in 1947, outlawed “Closed Shops”-which were employers who only hired union members and those employees were required to remain members to continue their employment. The Taft-Hartley Act did, however, allow employers and unions to operate under the “Union Shop” rule, where they could make membership or paying dues mandatory after a certain length of employment. Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act went further to allow each state to outlaw the Union shop for employees
Current Legislation Just days ago, Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential nominee has brought the divided issue to light, implying that there could very soon be a Federal Law involving Right-to-Work Laws. While Romney says he is in favor of the state level Right-to-Work and would even support a Federal Law, he believes the power should remain at state level. His position makes sense, since different states are involved in different industries and should be able to decide what’s best for their own citizens and employers.
Advantages and Disadvantages There are pros and cons to Right-to-Work, which is why the U.S. is almost divided in half on the issue. There are still 28 states as well as the District of Columbia who do not support Right-to-Work Laws. These states believe the disadvantages of Right-to-Work include creating a “free rider” problem. Their point is that employment unions still exist and fight for the rights of the employees whether they are contributing membership dues or not. The more obvious advantage of the Right-to-Work law is that you cannot be forced to pay dues or forced into a union membership.
If you feel you’ve been forced into a union while living in a Right-to-work state, we suggest you consult a Rio Grande Valley employment law attorney to learn more about your rights.
About the Author: Jeff Davis is the Owner of the Davis law firm and a highly experienced Rio Grande Valley employment law attorney. To find out more information about a Rio Grande Valley employment lawyer, please visit www.jeffdavislawfirm.com.