"Right to work"... what does this mean?

  1. What does a "right to work " state mean? And the other term, the opposite of this one.... I see the term used here alot, but am not sure what it means?
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    I live in Texas, which is a 'right to work' state.

    It basically means that I am permitted to resign from my place of employment at any time and for any reason, without cause. In addition, it means that my workplace is permitted to terminate my employment at any time and for any reason, without cause.
  4. by   ZASHAGALKA
    The other term is 'closed shop'.

    Closed shop means that, once a union gets 50% of the employees to vote to join the union, the place becomes 'closed' to non-union employees: EVERYBODY must join the union in order to continue to work in that newly unionized role/position.

    Right to work means that, if a majority votes to bring in a union, the employees have a 'right to work' there regardless whether they join the union, or not. In most 'right to work' states, if a union negotiates a contract, the employer is bound by law to offer at least as good a deal to the non-union members. In other words, as a non-union member, you get the financial benefits of a union negotiated contract WITHOUT having to pay union dues. What this normally means is that, even IF a union can get a majority of the vote to unionize, they will likely get only a fraction of that vote to BE a dues paying member of the union. The practical effect is to make unionization difficult to impossible. There is still the same legal rights to unionize in those states, but this model makes the financial viability - and therefore the power - of a union a very difficult proposition.

    Another thing many mean when they say 'right to work' is 'right to fire': in right to work states, employment is contigent on BOTH the employer and employee wanting to maintain that relationship. It means that an employer does not need a reason to fire you, simply a desire that you leave. But if you think about it, that's the SAME right you have as an employee.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Jan 4, '07
  5. by   Spidey's mom
    I was going to say that the answers you get will depend on whether the person is pro-union or not.

    I wouldn't join a union and my take on it is as Tim mentioned - the most important part being that I would not be forced to join a union against my will in order to continue working somewhere.

    steph
  6. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from stevielynn
    I was going to say that the answers you get will depend on whether the person is pro-union or not.

    I wouldn't join a union and my take on it is as Tim mentioned - the most important part being that I would not be forced to join a union against my will in order to continue working somewhere.

    steph
    LOL, I DID try to give a more or less 'neutral' answer.

    There are advantages to both setups. Closed shop might 'force you to join', but in doing so, it creates real power from which to negotiate on the behalf of everybody.

    Right to work means much more individual choice, but you give up the power of a union. Even if you have a union, much more unlikely in right to work States, it is likely not very powerful.

    It's a point of view. Neither is right or wrong. One vests power in the group, one in the individual. It just depends on what appeals to you the most. Or more likely, where you work or live.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  7. by   RNOTODAY
    Ok, I work in a "closed shop". I had thought the 'right to work" was a state to state thing? Like, a right to work state, or not.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from RNOTODAY
    Ok, I work in a "closed shop". I had thought the 'right to work" was a state to state thing? Like, a right to work state, or not.
    There are 'right to work' states in existence, although they tend to be clustered in the Southeastern United States.
  9. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from RNOTODAY
    Ok, I work in a "closed shop". I had thought the 'right to work" was a state to state thing? Like, a right to work state, or not.
    Both are.

    Whether a facility can be 'closed shop' or 'right to work' is a function of State Law.

    In the South and MidWest, many of the States are 'right to work' States. In the N.East, 'rust belt', and West, many States are 'closed shop' States.

    Whether work places can be 'closed' or not is a function of the legal rules that exist, State to State.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  10. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    LOL, I DID try to give a more or less 'neutral' answer.



    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    You DID!! And you continue to give good definitions.

    I think California is a right-to-work state . . . . but I'm not sure. Weird. You'd think I would know that.

    steph
  11. by   RNOTODAY
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    Both are.

    Whether a facility can be 'closed shop' or 'right to work' is a function of State Law.

    In the South and MidWest, many of the States are 'right to work' States. In the N.East, 'rust belt', and West, many States are 'closed shop' States.

    Whether work places can be 'closed' or not is a function of the legal rules that exist, State to State.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Ok, zash, so since I work in a closed shop, I do NOT work in a right to work state?
  12. by   ewattsjt
    great answers!....indiana is a right to work state. remember that in most right to work states, while the employer can fire you just because, it still has to be just and unbiased (i.e. if joe always clocks in 3 min. late and i do it once, i can not be fired because of clocking in late, unless joe gets fired too). the easy out is doing away with a job for a month then recreating it or something similar.

    seniority has nothing to do with anything unless you have a negotiated contract stating so. the same goes for shift changes, transfers, etc...
  13. by   Simplepleasures
    Ok, Am I confused or are you confused? I understand from my daughter, who is an attorney that a"right to work" state is one in which you are allowed to work in your trade without having to join the union.An "At will state" is one in which you can be fired for any reason ,unless you fall under a "protected status", ie: Discrimination,sex, religion,age,etc., FLMA, and other state protection catagories OR are protected by the laws of the NLRA IF you BELONG to a union."At will" also means that you may quit at any time for any reason.
    Last edit by Simplepleasures on Jan 4, '07
  14. by   Simplepleasures
    Whoa, too wierd, I cant get that wierd green smiley face off of my post!!! What gives?
    Last edit by Simplepleasures on Jan 4, '07

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