By: Gary Kenney
Right-to-work laws are state laws that prohibit labor unions from implementing “union security clauses.” Union security clauses are “provision[s] in  union contract[s] requiring employees, as a condition of employment, to maintain union membership or pay union dues or requiring an employer to check off dues from employees’ wages.” However, the Supreme Court recently held that “public employees do not have to pay fees to unions to cover the costs of collective bargaining.” This decision overturned regulations in twenty-two states’ policies known as “fair share” policies. Fair share policies required people who were members of unions they did not choose to be members of to pay fees for collective bargaining. In comparison, there are twenty-seven states with Right-to-work provisions. In 2016, the Sixth Circuit rejected a ruling from the Western District of Kentucky that right-to-work laws were preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.
There are several reasons why more states should adopt right-to-work policies. First is the belief the union membership will help workers receive better wages and benefits, though is not always true. From 2002 to 2012, the growth of personal income was “12.8 percentage points higher in right-to-work states than forced-union states.” In addition, states with right-to-work laws saw an increase in job creation at more than double the rate of states without right-to-work laws from 2001 to 2006.
There is also a belief that political contributions made by unions are not always representative of the union’s members. This led to the Supreme Court decisions in Communications Workers of America v. Beck and Janus v. AFSCME. In Beck, the Supreme Court ruled that unions can only collect fees from non-members in relation to collective bargaining and not for other purposes. In Janus, the Supreme Court ruled that public sector unions cannot force employees to pay dues for collective bargaining due to the political nature of the contributions. The decision in Beck created what are now known as “Beck Rights.” These rights allow union members to request a refund of their dues if the money will not be used for collective bargaining purposes. Since the Janus ruling, “Beck Rights” are only applicable to private sector unions. However, if more states adopted right-to-work laws, employees would not have to worry about their union misappropriating their mandatory dues paid to the union because of a union security clause.
Right-to-work laws still allow employees the ability to gather together and bargain for extra rights, but without the added factor of unions establishing mandatory dues.
 NLRB, Employer/Union Rights and Obligations, https://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/rights/employer-union-rights-and-obligations.
 US Legal, Union Security Clause Law and Legal Definition, https://definitions.uslegal.com/u/union-security-clause/.
 Alana Semuels, Is This the End of Public-Sector Unions in America?, The Atlantic (June 27, 2018), https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/06/janus-afscme-public-sector-unions/563879/.
 NLRB, supra note 1.
 United Auto., Aerospace & Agric. Implement Workers of Am. v. Hardin Cty., 842 F.3d 407, 422 (6th Cir. 2016).
 Travis H. Brown, Right-to-Work Laws v. Forced Unionization: Happier Workers Have the Freedom to Choose, How Money Walks (June 10, 2015), https://www.howmoneywalks.com/right-to-work-laws-vs-forced-unionization-happier-workers-have-the-freedom-to-choose/.
 Id. (citing Arthur B. Laffer Et Al., An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States: How Taxes, Energy, and Worker Freedom Change Everything (2014)).
 See Use of Dues for Politics, Unionfacts, https://www.unionfacts.com/article/political-money/.
 Commc’ns Workers of Am. v. Beck, 487 U.S. 735, 780 (1988).
 Janus v. AFSCME, 138 S. Ct. 2448, 2486 (2018).
 Janus, 138 S. Ct. at 2486.
 See Use of Dues for Politics, supra note 11.
 Kersey, supra note 10.