National “Right To Work” Bill Could be Major Shakeup for Organized Labor
The future for nationwide “right-to-work” legislation looks brighter than it has ever been.
House Republicans introduced legislation last week that would prohibit workers nationwide from being forced join or support a labor union.
The bill, which is co-sponsored by Reps. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and Steve King, R-Iowa, would be a significant blow to union leaders and supporters.
In speaking about the bill with the Washington Examiner, Rep. Wilson said: “At least 80 percent of Americans are opposed to forcing employees to pay dues as a condition of their employment, and our bill would protect workers by eliminating the forced-dues clauses in federal statute.
The bill comes at a time when unions are already hurting: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership has essentially been cut in half since the early 1980s. (In 2016, just 10.7 percent of the American workforce was a member of the union.) Should the bill pass, it will substantially weaken unions across the board, which are dependent on member dues and fees for funding.
What does “right to work” mean?
According to the National Right To Work Committee, “right-to-work” laws guarantee that no person can be compelled, as a condition of employment, to join or not to join, nor to pay dues to, a labor union. In states without these laws, workers who don’t join unions or at least pay some sort of fee can be terminated for such actions.
Which states are “right to work”?
More than half of states have passed “right-to-work” legislation. Earlier this year, Kentucky became the twenty-eighth state to adopt right-to-work legislation.
What are the chances the bill is passed?
This isn’t the first time such a bill has been introduced but, with a Republican-controlled Congress and a decidedly pro-business White House, this is the most promising shot supporters have at passing national right-to-work legislation.