A Majority of States Now Right to Work


For the first time, in a majority of states, workers can’t be fired from their job if they choose not to financially support a union. A much needed policy since most workers never voted for the union that represents them. Today, West Virginia’s legislature overrode Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of right-to-work legislation.

Right to work will help the Mountain State’s struggling economy and increase worker freedom. Right-to-work laws make sure workers do not have to pay union dues as a condition of employment—they do not impair collective bargaining. Other than giving workers a choice, right to work is a boon for the economy.

A state’s status as right to work influences industry location. An economic development consultant David Brandon explains, “More than half of our companies either make [right to work] a threshold or a very important factor in making a decision on where to locate a factory and other operations."

A dire concern in West Virginia is the state is losing population faster than any other. Right to work will likely stem that trend. As Competitive Enterprise Institute research shows, “According to Census data, during 2000-2009, more than 4.9 million native-born Americans moved from non-RTW to RTW states—an average of more than 1,450 persons per day.”

CEI’s study also reveals workers stand to see an increase in earnings from right to work. In West Virginia, workers lost an estimated $2,623 from not having a right-to-work law.

In the end, today is a banner day for worker freedom, worker paychecks, and worker opportunity for West Virginians. Workers deserve the freedom to choose in the workplace. Hopefully, the frequency of states passing right-to-work laws recently will inspire more state legislatures to do what is right for workers and economy.