American workers are protected from mandatory labor union dues in 25 states, and the number is likely to increase in 2016.
Indiana became a right-to-work state — where workers can opt out of paying workplace unions without being fired — in 2012. Michigan’s right-to-work law took effect in 2013, and Wisconsin’s in 2015.
Union officials insist right-to-work silences workers, reduces pay and increases the risk of death on the job. In truth, right-to-work laws simply stop unions from taking forced dues.
Where can we expect to see new protections of workers’ freedom to choose whether to pay unions in the year to come?
In the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case before the U.S. Supreme Court, a group of California teachers are arguing against mandatory union fees for teachers and other government workers. The ruling could affect public employees across the country.
If the Court rules in favor of Rebecca Friedrichs and the other plaintiffs, millions of public employees in California and other states without right-to-work laws could gain the ability to choose whether to pay unions.
Oral arguments in the case are scheduled to begin Jan. 11. A decision is expected in June.
Watchdog.org coverage of the Friedrichs case:
- Labor bosses ask Supreme Court to rule in favor of forced union dues
- Union bosses smear teachers in Supreme Court case
- Here’s why union bosses hate California teacher Rebecca Friedrichs
Republican lawmakers in West Virginia plan to introduce a right-to-work bill in January. West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole recently told Watchdog.org he has the votes to pass right-to-work and overcome a potential veto from Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
If right-to-work is approved in the West Virginia Senate and West Virginia House of Delegates, there could be 26 right-to-work states by March.
- Will West Virginia become the 26th right-to-work state?
- West Virginia union bosses panicking over right-to-work
- West Virginia right-to-work bill coming in January
- Union bosses say right-to-work will kill West Virginians
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin was elected in November by a wide margin after campaigning on a platform that included right-to-work. Democratic opponents of right-to-work in the Kentucky House may see the writing on the wall — or right-to-work may be advanced in 2017, depending on the outcome of House races next November.
Even without a statewide law, local right-to-work ordinances being challenged in court by union officials could spread across Kentucky in 2016. And, if right-to-work proponents overcome the legal challenge, local right-to-work ordinances could become commonplace in other states.
- Labor bosses’ big loss could bring right-to-work to Kentucky
- Kentucky labor unions try to slow right-to-work momentum
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is term-limited in 2016, and the race to succeed him looks like a toss-up. Nixon’s veto was the only thing stopping right-to-work supporters in the Missouri General Assembly in 2015.
Passage of right-to-work in West Virginia could prompt Missouri legislators to try again in 2016. The policy is likely to be hotly debated during the governor’s race, and could move forward quickly in 2017 if a right-to-work supporter wins.
- Missouri group fighting right-to-work is a Carpenters union front
- In Missouri, labor unions’ dwindling muscle tracks national decline
- Unions hide union label in Missouri right-to-work fight
- Missouri carpenters union bosses are paid more than actual carpenters
- Some say right-to-work legislation could strengthen Missouri unions
- Union bosses battling Missouri right-to-work make big bucks
- Why shouldn’t Missouri become the 26th right-to-work state?
- Right-to-work opposition could hurt Dems’ chances in Missouri in 2016
- Union bosses benefit from the income inequality they bash
- ‘Vicious political campaigning’ backfired on Missouri unions
- Missouri workers lose against labor union goliath