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  • Basic Strategy Remains the Same
    Updated On: Apr 14, 2007

    There is a misunderstanding that organizing is somehow different, or more difficult, in so-called right-to-work-for-less states. In fact, organizing law and procedure is the same in right-to-work and non-right-to-work states. The only differences are that workers in states that have passed these so-called right-to-work laws are paid considerably less on average, and the states are more likely to have unfavorable political conditions.

    Right-to-work-for-less laws typically just outlaw union shops. In other words, once you win a union election in the usual way, you can’t negotiate a provision that says after 30 days employment a worker has to join the union.  Therefore, once workers are organized, they are in some form of open shop. That means internal organizing to keep the membership up is very important. But it is possible to have 100 percent voluntary membership in a so-called right-to-work state.

    But the organizing rules are the same, and organizing is the same. The same categories of private sector workers are still covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) or the Railway Labor Act (RLA) in so-called right-to-work states. The same organizing rights and procedures apply.

    State law, not federal law, governs organizing of public-sector workers. The law governing public sector workers varies a great deal from state to state, but this is typically not based on whether the state is right-to-work or not.

    In open shop states,  you need to constantly educate bargaining unit workers (especially in high turnover industries or mature contracts) on why they should join the union (the benefits they currently enjoy are the product of co-workers standing together, etc.).

    The bottom line is: the more organizing we do in right-to-work-for less states, the more union members we have, and the better chance we have to overturn the anti-worker, anti-union right-to-work-for-less laws.
  • Teamsters Local 391

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