The newsletter LaborUnionReport.com reports that California Congressman Brad Sherman (D) has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to strip states that are “right-to-work” states of that status. There are 22 states that are considered “right to work” as shown in red in the picture above. This was a state right granted in 1947 by the Taft-Hartly Act, an amendment to the National Labor Relations Act. (Taft-Hartly is officially the Labor-Management Relations Act, and it granted managment rights where none had been.)
Briefly, what “right to work” means is this. Employees in every state of the US have the right to organize a union. If they do so, two different conditions exist, depending on whether they are in a “right to work” state or a non-right to work state. In a non-RTW state an employee, in order to hold their job, must belong to the union if that job is covered by the union contract. They have no choice. When I was the HR manager in a union plant in Chicago, if I hired someone for a job and wanted to keep them after their probationary period, they had to become a union member otherwise I had to fire them. If that had been here in Georgia, a RTW state, they would have had the choice to become a member of the union. Regardless of their choice however, they would have kept their job. So it is a matter of freedom of choice for the employee. Some places they have that freedom of choice, other places they do not.
Congressman Sherman, who represents California, a non right-to-work state, says that it is unfair to California to have to compete with RTW states for jobs. He says it is costing California because companies are moving away and taking jobs with them. (Of course he doesn’t mention the overburdensome employment laws, taxes or broken government in California. Employment laws in California are so different there is a separate PHR designation for CA) So, with the support and endorsement of the AFL-CIO, he has introduced legislation in Congress to strip ALL rights from the other 22 states that had the foresight to pass right-to-work legislation.
I would like to suggest to Congressman Sherman that perhaps there should be an introduction to make all states RIGHT TO WORK. This will level the playing field as well, potentially lower the cost for businesses, take away restrictive practices, and give employees a true free choice to belong to a union or not. If a company then has a union in place they will truly deserve it. But if employees do not wish to belong to one there will be no pressure of Job/No Job decisions.
Of course with a 100% endorsement of the AFL-CIO I doubt whether this option ever entered Rep. Sherman’s wallet….errr… head.