“Right-to-Work” not as Beneficial for Employees Working in State and Local Government

The Economic Policy Institute reports that the U.S. Supreme Court will reconsider the case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which may require all states to have public-sector open-shop laws. The case involves whether Abood v. Detroit Board of Education should be overruled.

The court ruled that union-shop clauses were unenforceable, but upheld public-sector agency-shop clauses. This requires that employees who are not union members, but are represented by a union, pay a service charge or fair share as a percent of union dues. The fees will help finance collective bargaining, contract administration, but will not used for political or ideological reasons.

Agency shop clauses are critical for unions because they require that all employees who receive the collective bargaining agreement benefits compensate their share of the costs of negotiating and protecting those benefits.

After Abood v. Detroit, several states passed Right-To-Work (RTW) laws, which allow public employees to opt out of paying unions that represent them. It provides the right to unionize for representation, but not required to pay for the services.

Twenty-five states currently have RTW laws. If the Supreme Court overturns Abood, all states will become RTW states. Such legislative would weaken and reduce union representation for public employees.

If an employee expects the union to provide services and benefits, then they should pay fees necessary for representation and support. Workers should compensate those who work to support them on-the-job.

Money is essential for labor organizations to properly function and support workers. Unions need a stable amount of revenue to support staff and to provide representation services.

Unions are comprised of public employees who work to serve our society every day, and earn higher pay than non-unionized employees. The majority of employees want union representation. Slow growth of unions is experienced among states in which RTW is adopted.

Read the report on the effects of collective bargaining and union security here