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The Compensation Penalty of “right-to-work” Laws

By: Elise Gould Heidi Shierholz - "Recent proposals to advance so-called “right-to-work” (RTW) laws are being suggested in states as a way to boost economic growth. In this economic climate, something called right-to-work legislation sounds positive, but the name is misleading: these laws do not guarantee a job for anyone. In fact, they make it illegal for a group of unionized workers to negotiate a contract that requires each employee who enjoys the benefits of the contract terms to pay his or her share of costs for negotiating and policing the contract. This provision directly limits the financial viability of unions, reducing their strength and ability to negotiate favorable contracts, higher wages, and better benefits. Similarly, by diminishing union resources, an RTW law makes it more difficult for unions to provide a workers’ voice on policy issues ranging from unemployment insurance to workers compensation, minimum wages, and other areas. The simple reality is that RTW laws undermine the resources that

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