Bob Goodlatte: Protecting the right to work
This week we saw another victory for American workers and freedom in the workplace. Just days ago, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law two right to work bills, making Michigan the twenty-fourth right to work state in our nation, including Virginia. This means individual employees can join unions voluntarily, but unions cannot force membership or force the payment of dues across entire worksites. The news out of Michigan comes just 10 months after Indiana became a right to work state and is a particularly significant trend in the Midwest.
I have been an ardent and vocal opponent of any efforts by labor leaders to force a man or woman to pay dues to a union in order to work. Folks should have the freedom to decide whether or not they will join a union. This freedom creates healthier unions that are constantly seeking to provide better services to members and prospective members. Eliminating this freedom limits the individual freedom of workers, results in fewer jobs, and makes our nation less competitive versus our foreign competitors.
As our country struggles to find ways to stay competitive, create more jobs and grow our national economy, states must be looking for commonsense ways to ensure their prosperity. A recent study indicates that there is faster growth in employment and income in states with right to work laws in place.
I am also a strong supporter of the National Right to Work Act, which preserves and protects the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities. This legislation is simple and reasonable. The bill deletes provisions in federal law that authorizes contracts forcing workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
Some argue that by passing a national right to work law, we will be wiping out a competitive advantage over other states that we currently enjoy in Virginia, thanks to our right to work law. However, our real competitors are Japan, Mexico, China, and Europe–not Ohio, New York, and California. So by making our nation more competitive as a whole, we also help Virginia’s workers and businesses.
By passing right to work legislation in statehouses or in Congress we can restore the freedom of America’s workers to choose the form of workplace representation that best suits their needs or to choose not to participate. Most importantly, we help improve the standard of living of all American workers, support job creation and help keep the jobs we already have right here in the United States. These are the kind of pro-growth, pro-jobs policies we need to help fuel our economic recovery.
Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District of Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives.