Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) just introduced a federal so-called “right to work” law that would undermine labor organizing nationwide. Here’s an excerpt from his press release touting the legislation:
“Every American worker deserves the right to freedom of association – and I am concerned that the 26 states that allow forced union membership and dues infringes on these workers’ rights. Right to work laws ensure that all Americans are given the choice to refrain from joining or paying dues to a union as a condition for employment. Nearly 80 percent of all Americans support the principles and so I have introduced a national Right to Work Act that will require all states to give their workers the freedom to choose.”
The fact is, no one is forced to join a union. What so-called “right to work” laws allow is for workers to receive union benefits without paying union dues, which undermines the ability for unions to represent workers.
Researchers from the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute have found that the economies of states who have these laws “are associated with significantly lower wages and reduced chances of receiving employer-sponsored health insurance and pensions.” They estimated that hourly wages for all workers — not just union workers — in these states are 3% lower.
There has never been a serious push for a national “right to work” law, making Paul’s effort fairly unique. The National Right To Work Committee gave $7,500 to Paul’s campaign, and Koch Industries — which bankrolls state-wide efforts to install these laws — is his third largest contributor.