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National Right-to-Work Act: H.R. 785 Rep. King (R-IA) / S. 545 Sen. Paul (R-KY)

Description: The bill would allow employees who work in a unionized workplace, but decline to become union members, to refuse to pay a fair share fee to the union that represents all employees in the workplace, union members and nonmembers alike. The term “right-to-work” does not mean everyone is guaranteed a job, but instead means employees can work at a unionized workplace without paying any contribution to the union that negotiates for their benefits.  Currently, the National Labor Relations Act permits each state to choose whether it wants to allow these so-called “right to work” arrangements, and many states have passed “right-to-work” laws prohibiting fair share payments in the state. This bill seeks to prohibit fair share payments nationwide.

Fair Economy Impact: This bill would undermine unions’ bargaining strength by making it harder for workers’ organizations to sustain themselves financially. For example, since unions are required by law to represent both members and non-members, unions must spend their resources to represent non-members when they file grievances against the employer. This creates a free-rider problem for unions, who must expend resources to assist workers who do not pay their fair share in union dues. It is also unfair to union members who do pay their fair share in dues. This legislation would further weaken unions and the workers they represent while continuing to strengthen corporate profits for shareholders and CEOs. Because unions are able to negotiate higher pay, wages are 3.1 percent lower in so-called “right-to-work” states, for union and nonunion workers alike, even after accounting for differences in cost of living, demographics, and labor market characteristics.


  • Introduced in Senate March 7, 2017
  • Introduced in House February 1, 2017