So-Called Right to Work and the next generation

Many of us who fight for workers’ rights and good jobs know that So-Called Right-to-Work (SCRTW) is wrong for workers.

SCRTW laws allow workers in unionized businesses to benefit from a union contract without paying union dues. It’s like allowing someone to belong to a health club without paying membership fees – of course, some will take advantage of the offer. The problem for the health club is that, with less membership fees, it’s harder to keep up the equipment or pay the trainer.

It’s the same with a union, which won’t be able to maintain the staff needed to negotiate a good contract or provide other services to members.

These laws are designed to weaken unions and they do. A rigorous study, published in 2011, found that SCRTW reduced wages and cut health care and pensions for union and non-union workers. The study also shows so-called right-to-work laws have no impact on economic growth.

Unions are explaining why SCRTW is wrong, but we should say more about what SCRTW would mean for young people, from first-graders to recent college graduates.