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Two New Right to Work States in 2012

January 2nd, 2013 Comments off

In 2012, two states, Michigan and Indiana, were added to the list of Right to Work States – meaning these states adopted right to work laws.  Many do not understand exactly what right to work laws mean.  Below you will find the misconceptions of right to work laws as described by a labor attorney with Barnes & Thornburg:

In the face of these misconceptions, here are 10 facts about right to work laws:

1. Right to work laws do not ban collective bargaining
2. Right to work laws do not prohibit employees from joining unions
3. Right to work laws do not invalidate existing collective bargaining agreements
4. Right to work laws do not make it more difficult for unions to organize non-union workers
5. Right to work laws do not outlaw strikes
6. Right to work laws do not allow employers to discriminate against employees because of their union activity
7. Right to work laws do not allow employers to fire strikers
8. Right to work laws do not allow employers to ignore lawfully selected employee unions
9. Right to work laws do not allow employers to cut employee pay
10. Right to work laws do not take away any rights from the employees as opposed to unions

What right to work laws do is simply take away the ability of a union to force an employer to fire an employee if the employee does not want to pay the union the costs of union dues and/or initiation fees. In non-right to work states, federal labor law permits an exception to the discrimination provisions in the statute and permit unions to require that employers fire employees who do not pay money to the union.

Big unions hate these laws because it hurts them economically. They cannot impose upon employees—frequently without any choice on the employees’ part—the obligation to pay the union money for the privilege of keeping their jobs. Unions hate these laws, not because it impacts the rights of the employees, but because it hits the unions and their officials in their piggy banks. The fewer union-due payers, the less money there is for the unions to pay their officers and employees. In addition, when workers choose not to join a union, they remain free of any threat of union discipline (expulsion or fines) if they choose not to follow the union’s rules. This means the union officials have less power over the workers whose interests they are supposed to represent.

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