Right to Work


Print this Page Email Page

Right to Work laws are statutes enforced in twenty-two states, allowed under the provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibit unions from making membership and payment of dues a condition of employment. Prior to the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, unions and employers, under the protected umbrella of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), could lawfully agree to what is known as a “closed shop”, where workers were forced to join a union as a condition of employment. Right to work laws prohibit this behavior.

Right to work laws are essential to protecting the Constitutional right to freedom of association, as well as the common-law principle of private property ownership with regard to forcing workers to relinquish part of their paycheck to an external entity as a condition of employment. Workers should be free to refrain from becoming part of an external organization, without being forced to merely by working in a state that does not have right to work laws. Furthermore, the payment of forced union dues as a condition of employment directly interfere with open and free market labor models and are counterproductive to sustain an open and prosperous society.

AWF supports the passage of state right to work laws as they are of the utmost importance to protecting the Constitutional freedom of association. The coercion of being forced to pay  union dues as a condition of employment that occurs in the 28 states without right to work laws is antithetical to worker freedom.

Click below to view the actual right to work legislation for the 22 domestic states plus Guam. (credit: NRTW)

Alabama | Arizona | Arkansas | Florida | Georgia | Guam | Idaho | Iowa | Kansas | Louisiana | Mississippi | Nebraska | Nevada | North Carolina | North Dakota | Oklahoma |South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Wyoming

Index of Worker Freedom Congressional Ratings Davis Bacon Research Labor Statistics