Senate Democrats have introduced a bill seeking to repeal right-to-work laws of all states. The bill seeks to end the legislation that prevents workers from being forced to join labor unions or even supporting them financially. This bill is authored by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and co-sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Why the Repeal?
According to the sponsors of the bill, the so-called all state right-to-work laws make it harder for people to form labor unions. At the moment, Americans are working harder and earning less. This legislation, therefore, comes at the right time to give workers an opportunity to voice their grievances and bargain for better working conditions and wages. The current law is cruel and should be termed as one that protects workers from improving labor standards in the country. Organized labor unions have been a primary contributor towards the Democrats campaigns. In 2016, these unions gave around $59 million to the party.
About State Right-To-Work Laws
These laws illegalize union-management contracts, which require employees to join unions or pay regular fees. Business groups and Republicans support these right-to-work laws, stating that they give each state an advantage in attracting competitive business and that joining a union should be the left to the employee and not the employer.
In the U.S, a total of 27 states use these laws, with five of them having adopted them in 2012. These latest entrants include Michigan, Wisconsin, and Missouri, although the later passed the bill and kept it pending awaiting the union-backed referendum.
Benefits of Labor Unions
The Elizabeth Warren sponsored bill is thought to benefit a lot of Americans who work in states that have right-to-work laws. If given the power to join unions, the workers will be able to organize themselves into groups and bargain for better wages and improved working conditions. In the non-right-to-work states, the money paid by member workers helps the union in managing collective bargain expenses that eventually benefit the workers.
The Major Challenge
Unions in these right-to-work states have tried to attack the law in several dimensions. These have included referring it as the “right to work for less,” while others have referred it as unconstitutional. For instance, Wisconsin unions have challenged the laws terming them as unconstitutional and aimed at taking away their property. However, the claims were recently rejected by both federal and state court.
External Attempts Failed
The Canadian government has attempted to use the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to renegotiate and ban these oppressive laws. However, President Trump’s administration has declined. With this attempt failed, the only thing workers in these 27 states can do is hoping that the Elizabeth Warren sponsored bill is passed into law.