What is “Right-to Work”?
“Right-to-Work” is the right to work without paying union dues or fees while still getting union-negotiated benefits. It’s the right to freeload.
What Are the Origins of Right=to-Work?
· Started in Houston, Texas, where Vance Muse, an oil industry lobbyist, founded the Christian American Association in 1936.
· The Christian American Association championed “Right-to-Work” as its political slogan.
· Muse was known for opposing women’s suffrage, child labor laws, and integration.
What is “Right-to-Work”?
· Supporters of “Right-to-Work” claim that these laws protect workers from being forced to join a union.
· Federal law already makes it illegal for a union to force someone to join a union, be a union member, pay membership dues, and/or contribute to a union’s political activity.
A Short History Lesson: Union Security
· Closed Shop: prospective employees must already be union members before being hired.
· - Made illegal by the Taft-Hartley Act passed in 1947
· Union Shop: new employees must join the union within 30 days or be fired.
· - Generally treated as an agency shop
· Agency Shop: employees are not required to join the union, but they must pay fees to cover the costs of collective bargaining, and they can be fired if they refuse.
· “Right to work is wrong for working people. We heard it during the presidential election – workers are speaking out that they want good union jobs and a strong voice at work. The last thing they want is their working conditions rolled back and their rights stripped by billionaires’ interests, like ALEC and the Koch brothers, who advocate for lower standards for workers through right to work.”
- Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President