Anti-union ‘right-to-work’ laws spreading quickly


The states colored red above have anti-union “right-to-work” laws that prohibit union contracts from requiring workers to pay dues or fees.

On Jan. 7, less than a week after Republicans took control of the Kentucky state House, Senate, and governor’s office, Kentucky became the nation’s 27th right-to-work state. Missouri is up next: right-to-work legislation is expected to pass there within weeks. Right-to-work also has a chance in New Hampshire this year.

Right-to-work is the rather misleading term for a law that prohibits any union contract that requires union-represented workers to pay union dues or fees. It’s intended to keep unions weak and poorly funded.

And it’s on the march. Michigan and Indiana went right-to-work in 2012, followed by Wisconsin in 2015 and West Virginia in 2016.

That’s not all: On Nov. 18, 2016, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that could allow county governments in Ohio to pass local right-to-work ordinances. And several dozen test cases are now in federal courts that challenge the Supreme Court’s 1977 Abood ruling, which allows public employee union contracts to require represented workers to pay, if not union dues, then at least their “fair share” of the costs of representation. If and when a Trump nominee makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court, the court would likely have a 5-4 majority to overturn Abood, making America right-to-work nationwide for all public employees.


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