What is "Right to Work"?

Despite its misleading name, this type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing. By undermining unions, so-called “right to work” laws actually weaken the best job security protections workers have—the union contract.

A state “right to work” law stops employers and employees from negotiating a type of agreement—known as a union security clause—that requires all workers who receive the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement to pay their share of the costs of representing them. These laws say unions must represent every eligible employee, whether or not he or she pays dues.

In other words, “right to work” laws allow workers to pay nothing and still get all the benefi ts of union membership.

These laws aren’t fair to dues-paying members. If a worker who is represented by a union and doesn’t pay dues is fi red illegally, the union must use its time and money to defend him or her, even if that requires going through a costly, time-consuming legal process.Because the union represents everyone, everyone benefits, so everyone should share in the costs of
providing these services. Amazingly, nonmembers who are represented by a union even can sue the union if they think it has not represented them well enough.

And “right to work” laws offer no new protection for workers who choose not to join unions. Under federal law, no one can be forced to join a union or to pay dues not directly related to the cost of representing them.