In general, the Right to Work Laws provide that do not have to belong to a labor union to get or keep a job, and no person can be denied a job because he or she belongs to a labor union. Twenty-one states have such laws, these states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming. In all of these states, unions, which generally oppose right to work laws, have very little power. Right to Work Laws have the effect of barring closed shop, union shop, and maintenance-of-membership agreements between employees and unions. In closed shop, employers can only hire members of the union. In the union shop, all employees must join the union after they have worked there for a certain amount of time. Maintenance-of-membership clauses require that employees who are union members retain membership until the union contract has expired. These three things help keep the number of union members to a minimum in the states that have the laws in affect.
The Right to Work Laws are not anti-union, but they are not pro-union either. It is a matter of individual freedom. In order to understand this concept it is important to know what the Right to Work Principle is. The Right to Work Principle affirms the right of every free American to work for a living without being compelled to belong to a union. Every individual must have the right, but must not be compelled, to join a labor union. The Right to Work principle affirms the right of all Americans to work where they want and for whom they want without pressure of any kind to join or not to join labor unions, or to support them in any way. Unions are private organizations, no other private organization in America insists on having power to extract financial support from unwilling people.
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