The term “right to work” often confuses HR executives, business owners, and employees alike. Roughly half the states in nation are “right-to-work” states, while the other half are not. In a right-to-work state, an employee does not have to join a union (where there is one) in order to obtain work. In non-right to work states they do. Proponents of right-to-work laws point to the fact that employment rates are higher in right-to- work states that allow for individual contracts. In non-right to work states, which have stronger union lobbying efforts, the argument is that employees in right-to-work states take advantage of the hard work of unions, but don’t have to pay any dues for the effort. It’s a fact that wages are higher in non-right-to-work states. However, if you look at geography, Northeastern and West Coast states tend to be the non-right to work jurisdictions where wages are higher in the first place.
State legislatures throughout the nation are continuing to introduce right-to-work laws. A lot has to do with the political balance of power in that state. Of course, conservative Republican states tend to favor right-to-work laws and Democratic pro-union states prefer what some call “forced unionism.” If you enter “right-to-work” in a search engine, you’ll see plenty of arguments both for and against these laws. To a read an excellent Wikipedia article on this topic, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-to-work_law.