Fox Business’ Dobbs: “What This Law Changes Is Forced Union Membership. I Repeat: Forced Union Membership.” Discussing Michigan’s new law on the December 11 edition of his Fox Business program, host Lou Dobbs mislead viewers about the effect of right-to-work laws. He claimed that “Michigan workers still tonight have the right to form and join a union. They still have the right to bargain collectively. And what this law changes is forced union membership. I repeat, forced union membership.” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 12/11/12]
Maine Center For Economic Policy: “Under Federal Labor Law, Workers Cannot Be Legally Required To Join A Union.” The Maine Center for Economic Policy laid out how forced union membership is illegal in a February 2011 op-ed: “A right-to-work law is not needed to protect nonunion workers. Several federal laws already protect the rights of nonunion employees in unionized workplaces, such as the NLRB vs. General Motors Supreme Court decision in 1963, and the Communication Workers vs. Beck decision of 1988. Under federal labor law, workers cannot be legally required to join a union as part of a collective bargaining contract.” [Maine Center For Economic Policy, 2/19/11]
National Right To Work: “No Employee In The United States Can Legally Be Required” To Be A Full Union Member. Even National Right To Work, an organization that promotes right-to-work laws, acknowledges that forced union membership is already illegal. Informing workers of their rights concerning unions, Right To Work makes clear that “[n]o employee in the United States can legally be required to be a full-dues-paying, formal union member. But in many states, an employee can be forced to pay certain union dues or be fired from his or her job.” [National Right To Work, accessed 12/11/12]
NLRB: Workers That Don’t Want Full Union Membership “Pay Only That Share Of Dues Used Directly For Representation” Of Union Contract They Work Under. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) explains that workers do not have to be full union members, but instead must only pay for the union representation they receive by working at a union shop, regardless of their membership status. The NLRB says that “employees who object to full union membership may continue as ‘core’ members and pay only that share of dues used directly for representation, such as collective bargaining and contract administration. Known as objectors, they are no longer full members but are still protected by the union contract.” NLRB also notes that right-to-work states allow non-union members to pay nothing, “even though all workers are protected by the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union.” [National Labor Relations Board, accessed 12/11/12]
Center For American Progress: “Right-To-Work” Laws “Allow Some Workers To Receive A Free Ride.”A Center for American Progress report titled “Right-to-Work 101” explained that “right-to-work” laws simply “allow some workers to receive a free ride” by receiving benefits from a union contract without having to pay for it:
In states where the law exists, “right-to-work” makes it illegal for workers and employers to negotiate a contract requiring everyone who benefits from a union contract to pay their fair share of the costs of administering it. Right-to-work has nothing to do with people being forced to be union members.
Federal law already guarantees that no one can be forced to be a member of a union, or to pay any amount of dues or fees to a political or social cause they don’t support. What right-to-work laws do is allow some workers to receive a free ride, getting the advantages of a union contract — such as higher wages and benefits and protection against arbitrary discipline — without paying any fee associated with negotiating on these matters.
That’s because the union must represent all workers with the same due diligence regardless of whether they join the union or pay it dues or other fees and a union contract must cover all workers, again regardless of their membership in or financial support for the union. In states without right-to-work laws, workers covered by a union contract can refuse union membership and pay a fee covering only the costs of workplace bargaining rather than the full cost of dues. [Center for American Progress Action Fund, 2/2/12]