Tuesday, January 20, 2015

'Right to Work': Opting Out of Unions Gets Boost in States

A new wave of bills that would allow workers to opt out of joining unions is expected from Maine to New Mexico as Republicans look to capitalize on statehouse gains to put new limits on organized labor.
Nearly half of U.S. states already have such laws—called “right to work” measures by backers—which allow employees in unionized workplaces to refrain from joining a union and paying dues. But only three states have become part of those ranks in the past two decades: Oklahoma in 2001 and Michigan and Indiana in 2012.
Anti ‘right to work’ protesters outside Michigan's state 
Capitol building in Lansing in December 2012. Reuters
Supporters of such laws say November’s election could provide new momentum as legislatures reconvene and Republicans have the largest number of state lawmakers since 1920. But such bills would face opposition from labor leaders and Democrats, while some Republicans see the often divisive issue as a distraction.
Backers say workers should be able to choose whether to join a union, and they say the laws can make their states more attractive to employers.
Opponents say the measures effectively depress wages and benefits for everyone, as well as undercut labor’s political power, by reducing union membership rolls.
New Mexico, Maine, Wisconsin and Missouri, among other states, are expected to take up bills that would forbid union-membership requirements. Even with the GOP electoral gains, many of the states debating the issue still have split party control in their capitols.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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