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SMALL BUSINESS NEWS

18 February 2012

 

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Should You Consider Starting or Moving Your Business to a "Right To Work" State?

Prior to 1947 unions organized and operate under the National Labor Relations Act.  Before the act was amended by the Thaft-Hartley Act of 1947 and subsequent legislation, unions were allowed to force employees into becoming members as a condition of employment.  They operated under what was called a “closed shop”.  Not only were employees required to become members, but, the unions also did the hiring.  They told the employer who they could or could not hire.

When “closed shop” became illegal under the Thaft-Hartley Act of 1947 unions moved to a new practice called “union shop”.  With this practice unions did not force employees to join the union as a requirement to be hired but they required new employees to join the union within a specified period of time.

Unions were increasingly being perceived by many in business as an impediment to growth.  Employers complained that unions resist when it was necessary to achieve efficiencies and remain competitive by reduce their workforce and implement new technologies (automation).  Over many years anti-union advocacy groups campaign for what they call “right to work” laws.  Today there are a total of 23 states that have “right to work” laws.  They include:  AL, AZ, AR, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, LA, MS, NE, NV, NC, ND, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, and WY.  On 1 February 2012 Indiana became the 23rd Right-to-Work State.

Under these new “right to work” rules adopted by the states unions must operate under the open shop rule.  Under this rule, an employee cannot be compelled to join or pay the equivalent of dues to a union, nor can the employee be fired if he joins the union.  In other words, the employee has the right to work, regardless of whether or not he is a member or financial contributor to such a union.  Union dues cannot be taken out of an employee’s paycheck without written consent of the employee.  The employee may stop it at any time.

The Federal Government operates under open shop rules nationwide, though many of its employees are represented by unions.

Those opposed to the “right to work” laws contend that it is unfair for employees to benefit from being bound by the terms of union contracts even though they are not required to pay dues.  They also believe that lower wages and bad working conditions will be result from the lack of union existence.  This has not been proven to be true.  Right-to-work states have to comply with the same workplace safety rules as non-right-to-work states.

Should you consider starting or moving your business to a “right to work” state?  Consider this:  In a study done by Larry Gigerich – Managing Director of Ginevus, “right to work states create more private sector jobs, enjoy lower poverty rates, experience more technology development, realize more personal income growth, and increase the number of people covered by employment-based private health insurance.”  He went on to state that “companies will not even consider non-right to work states for new facilities, out of concern for how their operations will be affected.”

Sources:
National Labor Relations Act
The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947
National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation
Inside Indiana Business

By Jack River

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

  
 

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