"Right to work" States
» Is your school in one of the following
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia,
Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska,
Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South
Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia,
» If so, you are running a campaign in
a "Right to work" state!
Thanks to anti-union labor laws, it is even
more difficult for workers in your community to organize
for a voice at work (as if current U.S. labor law isn't
» What does "Right to work"
So-called “Right to Work” laws don’t
actually guarantee any rights. Instead they block workers
right to organize by making it extremely difficult to
organize and sustain a union.
» Definition: “Right-to-work”
means that even after workers win union representation,
employees in the same workplace can choose whether or
not to join the union and pay dues, but the union must
provide the same services and benefits to all workers
regardless of whether they’re actually a member.
» Consequences: This means that
unions are forced to represent many workers who are
not dues-paying members, and therefore the union is
stretched far too thin with too little cash. It also
means that unions need to constantly talk with newly
hired employees and others who don't join the union
from it's start in order to maintain power and membership
in the workplace. About 22 states have “right-to-work”
laws on the books. These states are mostly in the south,
which is a major cause of weakened unions in the south.
Because these laws diminish the power of workers to
organize effect workers, they are often refered to as
- So, how do we deal with
"Right to work" laws in our campus campaigns?
Be honest with workers!
If campus workers want to organize, be honest about
the risks and challenges of organizing a union in your
state. Strategize about how you will overcome these
challenges together. Since new hirees will not automatically
join the union, it's essential that pro-union workers
are prepared to continually talk about the union and
organize these hirees before the employer can intimidate
or brainwash them.
Strategize with a union from the
beginning! Unions in "right to work"
states have developed various creative ways to deal
with anti-union laws. So, ideally, before you make your
own plans you should be familiar with the plans and
common strategies of local unions who might eventually
organize the workers you're supporting.
Have more advice about dealing with
"Right to work" and other anti-union laws
in a student-worker solidarity campaign? Please let
us know at lwac(at)livingwageaction.org