New EPI Report Exposes Sham Of So-Called ‘Right to Work’


April 2015


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The Economic Policy Institute describes so-called right-to-work laws for what they are: Anti-worker measures that hurt the economy and weaken the middle class.

Editor’s note: A comprehensive report by the respected, non-partisan think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI) recently illustrated the hoax of so-called right-to-work (RTW) laws. The report’s summary offered this description of whether RTW truly is about freedom:


Corporate lobbies advocate RTW with the goal of restricting unions. There are many organizations that, like unions, require membership dues. For instance, an attorney who wants to appear in court must be a dues-paying member of the bar association. One may dislike the bar association, but must still pay dues if he or she wants to appear in court.


Condominium or homeowners associations similarly require dues of their members. A homebuyer can’t choose to live in a condominium development without paying the association fees.


Yet the national corporate lobbies supporting RTW are not proposing a “right to practice law” or a “right to live where you want.” They are focused solely on restricting employees’ organizations.


By federal law, unions are required to provide all their benefits to every employee covered by a union contract. In RTW states, if a non-dues-paying employee has a problem at work, the union is required to represent her—including providing an attorney at no charge if one is needed—the exact same as it would a dues-paying member.


Unions in RTW states are the only organizations in the country forced to provide all benefits for free, and banned from requiring those who enjoy the benefits to pay their fair share of the costs of creating them.


Indeed, employer associations themselves refuse to live by the same rules they seek to impose on unions.


In Owensboro, Kentucky, the local Building Trades Council decided to withdraw its membership in the local Chamber of Commerce, but asked if it could still receive full member benefits even though it would no longer be paying dues. Absolutely not, answered the Chamber. “It would be against Chamber by-laws and policy to consider any organization or business a member without dues being paid. The vast majority of the Chamber’s annual revenues come from member dues, and it would be unfair to the other 850-plus members to allow an organization not paying dues to be included in member benefits.”


The Chamber’s logic is simple: If it had to provide all its services for free, and dues were strictly voluntary, it might go out of business. This, then, appears to be the true aim of RTW, and may explain why some corporate lobbies continue advocating for it even though it doesn’t add up as economic policy. It appears that the main goal of RTW may be not to create jobs or give workers more freedom, but instead to make it harder for workers to have an effective voice in negotiating with their employer.


(Visit and look for the complete report in a post dated Jan. 23.)




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