The Supreme Court ruled public sector employees have a choice on whether or not they want to financially support a union, essentially giving all public employees right-to-work protections. However, the ruling did not extend to private sector workers which deserve the same rights that their public sector brothers and sisters enjoy.

The Problem

The Janus decision does not extend to the millions of unionized employees in the private sector. In 23 states unions can still get private sector employees fired for not paying them.

The Solution

Right-to-work is still needed to protect private sector employees which are not helped by the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME. Right-to-work simply means that a union cannot get a worker fired for non-paying them. Right-to-work states have higher job grown, higher wage growth, lower unemployment, and when cost of living is factored in workers make more in right to work states.

The People

Individual workers aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit from right-to-work laws, unions can be strengthened too. Gary Casteel, formerly the UAW secretary-treasurer, once told the Washington Post, ‘This is something I've never understood, that people think right-to-work hurts unions . . . "To me, it helps them. You don't have to belong if you don't want to. So if I go to an organizing drive, I can tell these workers, 'If you don't like this arrangement, you don't have to belong.' Versus, 'If we get 50 percent of you, then all of you have to belong, whether you like to or not.' I don't even like the way that sounds, because it's a voluntary system, and if you don't think the system's earning its keep, then you don't have to pay."

Citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, Vincent Vernuccio, senior policy advisor for Workers for Opportunity at the Mackinac Center, explains in a Washington Examiner op-ed that unions also benefit from worker-freedom laws. According to BLS data, unions in right-to-work states gained more members in 2015 than those in states that allow forced unionism. As Vernuccio contends:

“It may be that right-to-work actually makes unions stronger, because unions can no longer force all workers to financially support them. In order to win new members and keep current ones, unions in right-to-work states need to be more attentive and responsive to what workers care about most. In some ways, these unions face similar incentives to meet workers' needs as any other business in the service industry does.

State Highlights

Over the last decade, several states have passed right-to-work laws giving employees (both private and public, before Janus) the ability to choose whether or not to pay the union at their job. Since lawmakers in Michigan passed right-to-work the Wolverine State has added more than 430,000 new jobs or 10 percent, weekly wages are up an average of $111, or nearly $6,000 per year, the poverty rate has declined from 17 percent to 14.2 percent.

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