Utah is one of 22 right-to-work states where workers can actually CHOOSE whether to join a union or not, if their work is unionized. In the other 28 states – also called “forced dues” states – anyone working at a unionized place of employment is forced to pay union dues or lose their jobs.
In 1947, the National Labor Relations Act was amended and allowed states the right to establish “Right-to-Work” laws. That ability is contained within a single paragraph. (What? It didn’t take 2000 pages to get a law passed?!) That paragraph reads simply:
(b) [Agreements requiring union membership in violation of State law] Nothing in this Act [subchapter] shall be construed as authorizing the execution or application of agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment in any State or Territory in which such execution or application is prohibited by State or Territorial law.
Obviously, removal of this one paragraph would then return all states to “forced-dues” status. California Congressman Brad Sherman (D) has introduced legislation that would do just that.
From his website:
Today, Congressman Brad Sherman announced the introduction of dramatic legislation that would eliminate so-called “right-to-work” laws, which was applauded by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Sherman has a strong record of supporting working men and women and earned a 100% rating from the AFL-CIO….
“I do not believe that there should be a right to be treated unfairly or to endure unnecessary restrictions. Right-to-work laws strip unions of their legitimate ability to collect dues, even when the worker is covered by a union-negotiated collective bargaining agreement. This forces unions to use their time and members’ dues to provide benefits to free riders who are exempt from paying their fair share,” said Congressman Brad Sherman. “These laws are harmful to states like California, which allows labor unions to organize, because now we have to compete with the race to the bottom as our companies have to compete with those where the workers would like better wages, working conditions and benefits but are unable to organize to get them.”
“With the introduction of legislation banning so-called right-to-work, Congressman Sherman has once again demonstrated his strong commitment to working families,” said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. “Right-to-work laws undermine the economy and weaken workers’ ability to bargain for better working conditions, which translates into lower pay and fewer benefits for everyone.”
This is not the first time that Congressman Sherman has introduced this legislation, but this year, with a lame-duck Congress and a Democrat in the White House, it’s possible he might actually get some traction. The unions – HUGE donors to Democrat campaigns – are undoubtedly doing backflips of joy.
Right here in Utah, unions have donated a quarter of a million dollars to Peter Corroon’s gubernatorial race and state legislative races.