Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) made some news over the weekend when he announced he would introduce legislation to eliminate right-to-work laws. Right-to-work laws are legal under the 1947 Taft Hartley Act, and they are decided upon on a state-by-state basis.
What right-to-work laws do is guarantee that no individual will be compelled to pay union dues- or join a union- if they do not wish to do so as a condition of employment. The state’s that currently have such laws are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.
This has been something unions have wanted for some time, and I don’t think this announcement was intended for anything more than to get a pat on the back by the AFL-CIO and other groups. If this was done in January 2009, we may have been looking at a different story but to do this a month before the mid-terms when the House has already gone home shows the lack of seriousness in this bill.