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Worker freedom fights to follow in 2016

By   /   January 4, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

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FIGHTING FOR FORCED DUES: Richard Trumka and other labor bosses will continue their fight for mandatory union dues in 2016.


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:

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.

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.

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.


Jason was formerly a reporter for Watchdog.org