National “Right to Work” Bill Introduced, Aims to Weaken Workers & Their Unions

February 1, 2017

Congressmen Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Steve King (R-IA) introduced national right to work legislation on February 1.

The term right to work as it applies to this bill is wildly inaccurate because it has nothing to do with gaining employment, it actually allows workers to shirk their responsibility to co-workers by not paying dues and in turn defunds and weakens unions. The misnamed right to work laws prohibit unions from negotiating union security clauses to assure all members in a particular unit (a store or a processing plant for example) pay dues so nobody get a “free ride” since everyone in the unit benefits from collective bargaining and representation. Union security clauses came into being in the 1930’s and led to workers building strength that has been unmatched since the 1950’s and 60’s. After the passage of right to work laws in more than half the country’s states and the weakening of labor law unions have shrunk from representing more than 30% in the 1950’s to 10.7% today.

Right to work laws weaken unions by depleting membership roles and resources. They are designed specifically for this purpose by anti-worker, anti-union politicians who want to silence the voice of workers.