Right to work

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A right to work law is an American provision enacted by a state under Section 14(b) of the federal Taft-Hartley Act prohibiting collective bargaining agreements from establishing a "closed shop" where all employees must belong to a Labor union. The provision may in some cases be written into the state's constitution.

These laws generally permit an "agency shop" where employees who benefit from a collective bargaining agreement must pay a fair share of negotiating that contract. In non-right-to-work states, a worker is forced to join and pay dues to the union or, if he does not join, will still have to pay union dues.

"A Right to Work law secures the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union. ... The National Right to Work Committee advocates that every individual must have the right, but must not be compelled, to join a labor union."[1]

As of 2017, 28 states, including the U.S. territory of Guam, have right to work laws.[1][2][3] Since 2012, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Kentucky[4] and Missouri[5] enacted right to work laws,[6] though the Missouri law was overturned in a referendum.[7][8] The majority of the states with such provisions are in the Southern and Western United States, where labor unions have historically been weak.

According to a 2017 study commissioned by National Employee Freedom Week and carried out by adjunct professor Lloyd Corder at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business, union workers in right-to-work states and non-right-to-work states expressed equal levels of satisfaction with their unions, with workers in right-to-work states expressing slightly greater satisfaction in some cases.[9]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Right to Work States: Do you work in a Right to Work state?. National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  2. Right to Work Laws. National Conference of State Legislators. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  3. National Right to Work Foundation. Right to Work States
  4. "Joining half the nation, Kentucky approves highly debated ‘right to work’ law", Christian Science Monitor, January 8, 2017. Retrieved on January 9, 2017. 
  5. "Gov. Eric Greitens signs Missouri right-to-work bill, but unions file referendum to overturn it", Kansas City Star. Retrieved on February 6, 2017. 
  6. State Right To Work Timeline. National Right to Work Comittee. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  7. Samuels, Brett (August 7, 2018). Voters reject Missouri right-to-work law. The Hill. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  8. Shaw, Adam (August 8, 2018). Missouri voters reject right-to-work law in rare win for unions. Fox News. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  9. Higgins, Sean (August 21, 2017). Union workers satisfied in right-to-work states: Study. Washington Examiner. Retrieved August 21, 2017.

External links