Right-to-work law

Right-to-work laws are statutes in 28 US states that prohibit union security agreements between companies and workers’ unions. Under these laws, unionized workplaces may not be compiled to join a union, nor may they be included in the cost of union representation. [1]

Selon the Legal Defense Foundation, right-to-work laws Prohibit union security agreements , or agreements entre Employers and labor unions , That Govern the extent to qui year Established union can require employees’ membership, payment of union owed , or fees as a condition of employment, before or after hiring. Right-to-work laws do not aim to Provide general guarantee of employment to people seeking work, purpose Rather are in government regulation of the contractual agreements entre Employers and labor unions That Prevents Them from excluding non-union workers, [2] gold Requiring employeesto pay a contract to the labor contract.

Unions are already governed by regulations and laws, including public policy on labor-management relations (eg, a central office of a professional position on labor relations). Typically, unions are organized by industry (eg, healthcare, restaurant, steelworkers, teachers, government-professional, non-professional), and they are required to be employed by employees and management, typically with an open ended representation. No new or reauthorization or reclamation as required for the purposes of the law. For example, while municipal employees have their unions, as do police and firefighters, other non-profit agencies in localities may not be offered these same protections. [clarification needed ]

Right-to-work provisions exist in 28 US states , mostly in the southern and western United States, but also include the Midwestern states of Michigan , [3] Indiana , [4] and Wisconsin . [5] Business interests represented by the United States Chamber of Commerce have extended extensively to pass right-to-work legislation. [6] [7] These laws are allowed under the 1947 federal Taft-Hartley Act. A further distinction is often made by the private sector, with states that are otherwise union shop (ie, workers must pay for union representation in order to obtain or retain a job) having the right to work laws in effect for government employees; provided, however, that the law also permits an “agency shop” where employees pay their share for representation (less than union dues), while not joining the union as members.


Wagner Act (1935)

The National Labor Relations Act , known as the Wagner Act, was passed in 1935 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ” Second New Deal .” Among other things, the Act provided the following:

  • A closed shop , in which employees must be members of the union as a condition of employment. An employee who is a member of the union for any reason, who is not a member of the company use’s rules.
  • A union shop , which allows for hiring non-union employees, provided that the employees join the union within a certain period.
  • An agency shop , in which employees must pay the equivalent of the cost of union representation, but need not formally join the union.
  • An open shop , in which an employee can not be compiled to join or pay the equivalent of a union, nor can the employee be fired if he or she joins the union. [8]

The Act tasked with the National Labor Relations Board , which had since 1933, with overseeing these rules.

Taft-Hartley Act (1947)

In 1947 Congress passed the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 , known to the Taft-Hartley Act, over President Harry S. Truman’s veto. This law repealed some parts of the Wagner Act, including outlawing the closed shop. Section 14 (b) of the Taft-Hartley Act aussi authorizes individual states (but not local gouvernements , Such As cities or counties) to outlaw the union shop and agency shop employees working for In Their jurisdictions. Any state law that outlaws such arrangements is known as a “right-to-work law.”

In the early development of the Right to Work policy segregationist sentiment was used as an argument, as many people in the south felt that it was wrong for Blacks and Whites to belong to the same unions. Vance Muse , one of the early developers of the Right to Work in Texas used this type of argument in the development of anti-union laws in Texas in the 1940s. [9]

Current status

The Federal Government operates under the umbrella of national laws, but many of its employees are represented by unions. Unions That Represent professional athletes-have written contracts That include Particular representation provisions (for example in the National Football League), [10] aim Their implementation is limited to “Wherever and whenever will legal,” as the Supreme Court HAS Clearly Held que le implementation of The right to work is “predominant job situs.” [11] Hence, players on professional sports teams in the United States of America and the United States of America are entitled to the laws of the United States. [12]

Twenty-two states, plus the District of Columbia , do not have right-to-work laws.

On November 18, 2016, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of local governments to enact local right-to-work laws in Kentucky , Ohio , and the other states of its jurisdiction. [13]


In favor

Minority rights and due process

The first arguments concerning the right to work centered on the rights of a minority with respect to an opposing majoritarian collective bargain. President Franklin Roosevelt’s ” New Deal ” had prompted many US Supreme Court challenges, among which were challenges regarding the constitutionality of the National Industry Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA). In 1936, as a part of its ruling in Carter v. Carter Coal Co. the Court ruled against collective bargaining, stating: “The effect, in respect of wages and hours, is to the dissentient minority … to the will of the stated majority …. To ‘accept’ in these circumstances, is not to exercise a choice, but The power conferred on the majority is, in effect, the power to regulate the affairs of an unwilling minority. … [edit] [a] statute which attempts to confer such power undertakes an intolerable and unconstitutional interference with personal liberty and private property. the process of the Fifth Amendment, that it is unnecessary to do more than make up for decisions of this Court which foreclose the question. ” [14]

Freedom of association

In addition to the US Supreme Court, other proponents of right-to-work laws also point to the Constitution and the right to freedom of association . They argue that they should both be free to join unions, and thus, sometimes refer to non-right-to-work states as “forced unionism” states. These proponents argue that by being forced into a collective bargain, what the majoritarian unions call a share of collective bargaining costs is actually “financial coercion and a violation of freedom of choice .” An opponent to the bargain is forced to “financially support an organization they did not vote for, in order to receive monopoly representation they have no choice over.” [15]

Some religions, such as the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, prohibit or discourage the joining of unions, [16] citing Ellen White and the Loss of Free Will if you join a union. clarification needed ]


Proponents Such As the Mackinac Center for Public Policy contend That It is unfair That can require new unions and employees to Existing Either join the union or pay fees for collective bargaining expenses as a requirement of employment under union security agreement contracts. [17] Other proponents argue that unions may still be needed in new and growing sectors of the economy, for example, the voluntary and third party sectors, to provide adequate benefits for new immigrants, “part-time” aids in America (eg, US Direct Support Workforce).

Political contributions

Right-to-work proponents, including the Center for Union Facts , contend that political contributions made by unions are not representative of the union workers. [18] The agency shop portion of this had been previously contested with support of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation in Communications Workers of America v. Beck , resulting in “Beck rights” preventing agency from being used for the collective bargaining of non-union workers. [19]


Free riders

Some opponents (such as Richard Kahlenberg ) have argued that while it is an effective political slogan, the phrase “right-to-work” is a misnomer because the lack of such a law does not deprive anyone of the right to work (see Taft -Hartley Act (1947), which outlawed “closed shops” which did not deprive people of the right to work for a union before it was enacted); a right-to-work law simply “gives employees the right to be free riders-to benefit from collective bargaining without paying for it”. [20] [21] [6] [22] Under the labor laws in the United States, the union has the exclusive collective bargaining agent has a duty of fair representationfor all persons in the bargaining unit, including those who choose to be members and pay dues. Thus, in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education , the Supreme Court of the United States permitted agency fees so That employees in the public sector Could Be required to pay for the costs of representation, Even As They under the opt not to be a member. The right to challenge the fees must include an impartial fact finder. [23]

Freedom of contract and association

Opponents argue that right-to-work laws restrict freedom of association , and limit the spells of agreements by acting collectively with their employers, by prohibiting workers and agreeing to include fair share fees . Moreover, American law imposes a duty of fair representation on unions; Therefore, they are paid for by the members of the United States. [24] Hence right-to-work laws are not neutral, but rather impose an active and artificial burden on labor unions.

In December 2012, libertarian writer JD Tuccille , in Reason magazine, wrote: “I consider the restrictions right-to-work laws impose on bargaining between unions and businesses to violate freedom of contract and association . … I’m disappointed that the This is the first time in the marketplace to place it in the marketplace. that, when the state is not involved, they’re private organizations that can offer value to their members. ” [25]

Corporate interests

Critics from organized labor have pointed out since the late 1970s [26] that the National Right to Work Committee is engaged in grass-roots lobbying on behalf of the “little guy”, the National Right to Work Committee was formed by a group of southern businessmen with the express purpose of fighting unions, and that they “added a few workers for the purpose of public relations”. [27]

The unions also contend that the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the National Right to Work Committee have received millions of dollars from the United States of America as a result of the New York-based Olin Foundation, Inc. , which grew out of a family business, but now funds primarily conservative think tanks, media outlets, and university law programs. [27] [28]

Kahlenberg and Marvit also argues that, at least in efforts to get a right-to-work law in Michigan, excluding police and firefighters unions-traditionally less hostile to Republicans-from the law caused some to question claims that the law was simply an effort to improve Michigan’s businesses climate, not to seek partisan advantage. [20]

Corporate interests have grown to non-profit and voluntary sectors of the economy.

Studies of economic effect

According to Tim Bartik of the WE Upjohn Institute for Employment Research , studies of the effect of right-to-work laws “abound,” but are not “consistent.” Studies have found both “some positive effect on job growth,” and no effect. [29] Thomas Holmes argues that it is difficult to analyze right-to-work laws by comparing states that have passed these laws. For instance, right-to-work states often have some strong pro-business policies, making it difficult to isolate the effect of right-to-work laws. [30]Looking at the growth of states in the Southeast following World War II, Bartik notes that while they have right-to-work laws they have also benefited from “factors like the widespread use of air conditioning and different modes of transportation that helped decentralized manufacturing” . [31]

Economist Thomas Holmes compared with the laws and regulations of the United States. He found that the cumulative growth of employment in manufacturing in the right-to-work states was larger than that in the non-right-to-work states. [32] However, given the study design, Holmes points out that it is right-to-work laws that matter, but rather that the ‘probusiness package’ offered by right-to-work states seems to matter . ” [33] Moreover, as noted by Kevin Drumand others, this result may reflect business relocation rather than an overall enhancement of economic growth, since “businesses prefer locating in states where are low and rules are lax.” [34]

A February 2011 study by the Economic Policy Institute found: [21]

  • Wages in right-to-work states are less than those in non-RTW states, after controlling for a full complement of individual demographic and socioeconomic variables and macroeconomic indicators. Using the average wage in non-RTW states ($ 22.11), the average full-time, full-year-old RTW employee makes about $ 1,500 less than a similar worker in a non-RTW state. The study goes on to say “How much of this difference can be attributed to RTW status?” There is an inherent ” endogeneity ” in RTW and non-RTW states measures that are also related to compensation, making it difficult to isolate the impact of RTW status. ” [21]
  • The rate of employment-sponsored health insurance (ESI) is 2.6 percentage points lower in RTW states compared with non-RTW states, after controlling for individual, job, and state-level characteristics. If workers in non-RTW states were to receive ESI at this lower rate, 2 million fewer workers nationally would be covered.
  • The rate of employer-sponsored pensions is 4.8 percentage points in RTW states, using the full complement of control variables in the regression model. If workers in non-RTW states were to receive pensions at this rate, 3.8 million fewer workers nationally would have pensions.

A 2008 editorial in The Wall Street Journal comparing job growth in Ohio and Texas stated that from 1998 to 2008, Ohio lost 10,400 jobs, while Texas gained 1,615,000. The opinion piece suggests right-to-work laws might be among the reasons for economic expansion in Texas, along with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the absence of a state income tax in Texas. [35] Another Wall Street Journaleditorial in 2012, by the president and the labor policy director of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, reported 71% employment growth in right-to-work states from 1980 to 2011, while employment in non-right-to-work states grew just 32% during the same period. [36] The 2012 editorial also stated that since 2001, compensation in right-to-work states had increased. [36]


In January 2012, in the immediate aftermath of the passage of Indiana’s right-to-work law, Rasmussen Reports found that 74% of likely US voters supported right-to-work laws, but should enjoy benefits negotiated by the union. ” [37]

In Michigan in January through March 2013, 43 percent of those polled thought the law would help Michigan’s economy, while 41 percent thought it would hurt. [38]

US states with right-to-work laws

Right-to-work states shown in turquoise.

The following states (28) are right-to-work states:

  • Alabama (adopted 1953, Constitution 2016)
  • Arizona (Constitution, State Constitution Article 25 approved 1946) [39] (adopted 1944)
  • Arkansas (Constitution, 1947, Amendment 34)
  • Florida (Constitution, 1944, revised 1968, Article 1, Section 6) [40]
  • Georgia (adopted 1947)
  • Idaho (adopted 1985)
  • Indiana [4] (State Law, 2012)
  • Iowa (adopted 1947)
  • Kansas (Constitution, 1958, Article 15, Section 12)
  • Kentucky (adopted 2017)
  • Louisiana (adopted 1976)
  • Michigan (State Law, 2012) [3]
  • Mississippi (Constitution, adopted 1954)
  • Missouri (adopted 2017) (Postponed to 2018 for citizen voting)
  • Nebraska (Constitution and Statute, adopted 1946)
  • Nevada (adopted 1951)
  • North Carolina (adopted 1947)
  • North Dakota (adopted 1947)
  • Oklahoma (Constitution, adopted 2001)
  • South Carolina [41] (adopted 1954)
  • South Dakota (adopted 1946)
  • Tennessee (adopted 1947)
  • Texas [42] (adopted 1947, revised 1993)
  • Utah (adopted 1955)
  • Virginia (adopted 1947)
  • West Virginia (adopted 2016)
  • Wisconsin (adopted 2015)
  • Wyoming (adopted 1963)

In addition, the territory of Guam also has right-to-work laws, and employees of the US Federal Government have the right to choose whether to join their respective unions. [43]

New Hampshire adopted a right-to-work bill in 1947, but it was repealed in 1949 by the state legislature and governor. [44]

See also

  • At-will employment
  • Closed shop / open shop
  • United States labor law


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