GOP Again Takes Aim at Union Fees With National Right-to-Work Bill

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By Tyrone Richardson

Republican House members reintroduced a national right-to-work bill Feb. 1, amid a rise of similar legislation on the state level. Labor unions have been critical of the measures.

The National Right to Work Act ( H.R. 785) introduced by Reps. Joe Wilson (S.C.) and Steve King (Iowa) would prohibit “union security” clauses in collective bargaining agreements, which allow non-member workers to decline to pay representation fees. Similar bills have been introduced in past years but haven’t moved.

Wilson and King voiced optimism that the legislation could gain more support than in previous years. Twenty-seven states have adopted right-to-work laws, and lawmakers in Missouri and New Hampshire are considering measures.

“Similar legislation has been introduced in the past, but we believe that this year, the legislation could garner more support than ever before, as more and more states choose to pass right to work laws,” Leacy Burke, a spokeswoman for Wilson told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 1.

Reintroduction Could Drum Up Stronger Support?

Wilson is vice-chair of the Education and the Workforce Committee, which has been assigned the bill in the past. The reintroduction could also gain support from President Donald Trump, who signaled support for right-to-work measures during his campaign.

The bill’s reintroduction drew the ire of several labor unions and advocates. That includes AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who dubbed the measure “a lie dressed up in a feel-good slogan.”

“It doesn’t give workers freedom—instead, it weakens our right to join together and bargain for better wages and working conditions,” Trumka said in a statement to Bloomberg BNA. “Its end goal is to destroy unions,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tyrone Richardson in Washington at trichardson@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Christopher Opfer at copfer@bna.com

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