By Sahid Fawaz
“Right to work” may soon become fiction if a new bill makes it way to law.
“Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced legislation Wednesday designed to ban states from making union dues optional.
Warren has become a leading progressive figure over the past few years. She has also been an outspoken critic of right-to-work laws. Right-to-work outlaws mandatory union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Warren, a likely Democratic presidential candidate, introduced the bill alongside Rep. Brad Sherman to end right-to-work laws outright.
Federal law currently allows states to decide whether they want to be right-to-work or not. There are 28 states that have enacted the policy. Those opposed argue it is merely an underhanded way to hurt labor unions, while supporters contest it is actually about giving workers a choice.
‘Their stated goal is to take jobs from other states by weakening unions and, therefore, lowering wages,’ Sherman said in a statement. ‘Current ‘right-to-work’ laws require unions to represent non-dues-paying employees, thereby creating free riders – people who benefit from the union contract but don’t pay.’
Sherman adds that the free-rider problem makes it harder for unions to organize in a right-to-work state. Labor unions and their supporters have often used the free-rider argument to oppose right-to-work. They are obligated to represent all workers regardless of whether they pay dues once they get voted in as the exclusive representative.”
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