Right to Work

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What are right-to-work laws?

In states where the law exists, “right-to-work” makes it illegal for workers and employers to negotiate a contract requiring everyone who benefits from a union contract to pay their fair share of the costs of administering it. Right-to-work has nothing to do with people being forced to be union members.

Federal law already guarantees that no one can be forced to be a member of a union, or to pay any amount of dues or fees to a political or social cause they don’t support. What right-to-work laws do is allow some workers to receive a free ride, getting the advantages of a union contract—such as higher wages and benefits and protection against arbitrary discipline—without paying any fee associated with negotiating on these matters.

That’s because the union must represent all workers with the same due diligence regardless of whether they join the union or pay it dues or other fees and a union contract must cover all workers, again regardless of their membership in or financial support for the union. In states without right-to-work laws, workers covered by a union contract can refuse union membership and pay a fee covering only the costs of workplace bargaining rather than the full cost of dues.

There is scant evidence these laws create jobs, help workers, or are good for a state’s economy, as supporters claim. Instead, these laws weaken unions and thereby hurt workers, the middle class, and local economies.



  • 20 states have lower unemployment than Texas, 9 of them are ‘right-to-work’ states. Regardless, policies that benefit all Texans must be comprehensive and that is why wage growth is just as important as job creation.
  • Allow city, county, state and other government entities to collect fees for public employee unions


Texas Constitution
Code – Labor Code
Chapter – 101 Labor Organizations



Forbes – Michigan Right-To-Work Fight Tests A Depression-Era Law

Forbes – Why Milton Friedman Opposed Right-To-Work

Truth Out – The Misleading Arguments Propelling “Right-to-Work” Laws

Truth Out – “Right to Work” Laws Explained

Truth Out – The Legal Argument That Could Overturn “Right-to-Work” Laws Around the Country

Truth Out – The Right-to-Work Movement’s Attack on Women Workers

The Nation – Reversing ‘Right to Work’

The Nation – What ‘Right to Work’ Means for Indiana’s Workers: A Pay Cut

Think Progress – FLASHBACK: Indiana’s Last ‘Right-To-Work’ Law Failed So Badly It Was Repealed Eight Years Later

Think Progress – Judge Strikes Down Scott Walker’s ‘Right To Work’ Law

Think Progress – The True Story Of How One Man Shut Down American Commerce To Avoid Paying His Workers A Fair Wage

Ballotpedia – Missouri Right to Work, Amendment 23 (1978)

Ballotpedia – Virginia “Right to Work” Amendment (2016)

Ballotpedia – Alabama Right to Work Amendment (2016)

EPI – Eliminating fair share fees and making public employment “right-to-work” would increase the pay penalty for working in state and local government

EPI – Wisconsin’s so-called right to work law has been ruled unconstitutional

EPI – “Right-to-Work” States Still Have Lower Wages

EPI – Working hard to make Indiana look bad: The tortured, uphill case for ‘right-to-work’

West Virginia – West Virginia Republicans Just Delivered A Huge Blow To Unions

USA Today – Judge overturns local right-to-work laws in Kentucky

Ohio University – Right-to-work Laws and Manufacturing Employment: The Importance of Spatial Dependence

National Bureau of Economic Research – The Impact of Right-to-Work Laws on Union Organizing

Washington Post – Laws that decimate unions may be inevitable. Here’s how labor can survive

In These Times – How Unions Can Grow Stronger in the Wake of Right To Work

In These Times – The Legal Argument That Could Overturn ‘Right-to-Work’ Laws Around the Country

Houston Chronicle – Senate votes to block union dues deduction for some public employees

NPR – With Supreme Court Tie, Teachers Unions Dodge A Bullet

National Review – Unions and the Facts on Right to Work




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