Depending on which state you reside in, the right-to-work principle will naturally vary considerably. It is important to understand the differences between right-to-work states and states who have not passed the act.
Right To Work: The Basics
Essentially, the right to work concept states that all human beings have the right to work or engage in employment practice. Additionally, the principle affirms the right for any American citizen to choose whether or not to belong to a union.
In states that have neglected to pass any right to work laws, any American citizen employed full time is obligated to join a union and pay regular monthly fees for the privilege. Failure to do so can result in the termination of the working contract.
Right To Work States
Below is a current inclusive list of states who have passed the right to work act and do not enforce their residents to pay a monthly fee to a union as a standard requirement of employment.
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Pros and Cons of Right To Work States
Numerous studies across the country have proven that right-to-work states not only attract more new business but typically tend to have a stronger business climate than states who have not yet passed the act.
Additionally, right to work states afford each American citizen the freedom to join a union, which proponents note represents the fundamental ethos of the United States, providing choice and independence to every individual.
Conversely, opponents argue that right-to-work laws intentionally and calculatedly undermine and diminish the power of unions in general. Moreover, challengers contend that employees throughout the country will be able to enjoy the benefits of a worker’s union, such as collective bargaining power, for example, without having to pay for them.
Timeline of the Right To Work Act
In 1935, President Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (more commonly referred to as the Wagner Act ) that legalized workers’ rights to form unions and negotiate their own individual contracts. Roosevelt deliberately signed the Wagner Act in the port city of Tacoma on 5th July to honor the waterfront workers who were killed during a strike. This day is commonly known throughout the country and worldwide as ‘Bloody Thursday’.
The Taft-Hartley Act was passed in 1947 and is less commonly known by its official name, ‘The Labor-Management Relations Act. The Taft-Hartley Act amended the aforementioned Wagner Act to include language that affirmed the rights of individual states specifically to have the power to enact their own ‘right to work’ laws.
This principle is one that can be tough o wrap your head around. Use this guide to better understand it as well as your rights depending on the state you live in.