The chances of the Legislature pursuing right-to-work legislation that would bar mandatory union membership or dues for workers covered by collective bargaining agreements appears to be increasing substantially, Gongwer News Service has learned.
Senate Republicans are expected to address the topic at their retreat today and decide whether to proceed. But expectations, from several sources, are that so much of the caucus wants to push forward that it is difficult to imagine reversing the tide now.
No bill has been introduced, but expectations are that the bill would exempt police officers and fire fighters, meaning those workers could still be required to join their union or pay union dues.
Supporters of right-to-work laws say they address a basic personal freedom issue.
From Gongwer News Service
But opponents say workers in right-to-work states make lower wages and have weaker benefits. Additionally, because of federal labor laws, workers choosing not to join the union or pay agency dues instead of joining the union still enjoy all the benefits of having union representation without having to pay for it. They still receive the same wages and benefits negotiated for union members by the union and the same protections, such as the ability to file a grievance, when disciplined on the job.
Should the Republican-led Legislature decide to take the plunge and pass a right-to-work bill, it would likely unleash a flood of union rage and push to the side every other piece of pending legislation.