Right-to-work laws are laws that prevent labor unions and employees from requiring employees to join unions or require them to pay dues.
These laws were allowed by federal government by the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, also known as the Taft-Hartley Act.
Personally, I support right-to-work laws. Employees should be free to either join or refrain from joining unions.
I believe it is unethical to require an employee's membership of a union as a condition of employment.
I believe it further unethical to require an employee to pay dues which are usually used to support political causes that the employee may or may not support.
Opponents of these laws state that it is unfair for employees that do not pay dues to benefit from collective bargaining agreements and makes it less attractive for unions to attract employees.
Perhaps it is unfair to allow non-union employees to benefit from the hard work of the labor unions in their negotiations with an employer. It seems to me that it should be the right of the employer to bargain with these employees differently than it bargains with its union employees or to treat them all the same. The federal government has not place in these decisions.
Opponents of right-to-work laws have also stated that these laws endanger the safety and health of employees and leads to lower wages.
The problem with these arguments is that (1) the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act), created in 1970 essentially made labor unions obsolete in the matter of protecting worker safety and health. This act covers all private and public sector workplaces; and (2) minimum wage laws have been in effect in this country since the early 1900s. There is no need in most cases for labor unions to attempt to control wages for its members because most skilled laborers will not accept work with employers that offer less than what they think they will work.
Simply put, in the matter of wages, employers are well aware of the average wage for a skilled laborer and are not dumb enough to offer someone less unless the person has no experience. In those cases, there is a lot of room for negotiations.
All this being said, I do not want to come across as anti-union. In some cases, having a labor union represent you with an employee can be a good thing. However, for the most part, I can honestly see that labor unions have become more or less obsolete.
In my current campaign for U.S. Congress, there is little change that I would support a bill to amend the Taft-Hartley Act (which by the way, is actually an amendment to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, aka the Wagner Act) to make all states enact right-to-work laws. I totally believe that this is a matter best left to the state legislatures and their citizens.
Currently, there are 22 states that have right-to-work laws. They are: