On February 1, 2017, Congressmen Steve King (R) and Joe Wilson (R) introduced H.R. 785 which is also cited as the National Right to Work Act. According to text of the bill which was posted on Congressman King’s website, the purpose of the bill is “to preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities.” Essentially, a national right to work law would enable non-union employees to enjoy the benefits of union representation without providing any financial support to unions.
In response to the bill’s introduction, multiple unions are already voicing their concerns. The Teamsters issued a press release stating that “Right-to-work laws require workers and their unions to cover the costs of non-union workers who benefit from union contracts. These laws are proven to drive down wages and weaken workers’ unions by undercutting bargaining power.” The American Federation of Musicians echoed similar concerns in a statement regarding the National Right to Work bill. “Right to work is just plain wrong. It’s wrong for musicians and it’s wrong for all working people. States with right to work laws have lower wages, higher poverty rates, lower health insurance coverage rates, and more workplace fatalities. These are the facts—and the fact is right to work is wrong,” AFM International President Ray Hair stated. The Writers Guild of America East also responded to the bill: “One of the strange perennial rituals of Beltway Washington is the introduction of legislation to destroy the only effective voice American workers have on the job. Mislabeled “National Right to Work,” this legislation — introduced yet again by far-right congressmen Steve King (R-Iowa) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) — intends to cut organized labor off at the knees by making it impossible to finance the tough work put in by American unions to represent and protect working people. Strong sturdy unions are essential to organize workplaces, to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements and to do the day-to-day hard work of making sure that workers’ voices are heard when it’s time to make critical decisions about pay, benefits, working conditions and more.”
The official text of H.R. 785 does not yet appear on the congress.gov website. However, the text of the bill can be found on the homepage of Congressman King here. Read more about this bill here (The Hollywood Reporter).