Note: This post updates an earlier WKCHR alert concerning national Right to Work legislation. Read the alert here.
The official text of H.R. 785 has appeared on congress.gov. (It was previously only available on individual representatives’ websites). The new bill, H.R. 785, which Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced in the House, aims “to preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities.” Read the full official text here.
In reality, the National “Right to Work” Bill will permit employees nationwide to opt out of paying union dues or fees even if they receive the benefits of a union-negotiated contract. It’s been introduced in previous sessions, however, H.R. 785 has the best chance of the more previous efforts because Republicans control both the House and Senate now. Republicans would need eight Democrats to avoid a filibuster in the Senate, which, if avoided, may allow the bill to pass more quickly.
Trump has previously stated his support for “right to work” during his campaign for presidency.
“We’ve had great support from [union] workers, the people that work, the real workers, but I love the right to work,” Trump said. “I like it better because it is lower. It is better for the people. You are not paying the big fees to the unions. The unions get big fees. A lot of people don’t realize they have to pay a lot of fees. I am talking about the workers. They have to pay big fees to the union. I like it because it gives great flexibility to the people. It gives great flexibility to the companies.” Read more here (Washington Examiner).
Furthermore, after becoming president, Trump has indicated his inclination to sign such legislation via White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who stated on Friday, February 3rd: “The president believes in right to work. He wants to give workers and companies the flexibility to do what’s in the best interest for job creators.” Read the full press briefing here. It is uncertain what the exact effects would be if H.R. 785 passes, however, it certainly has the capability to weaken labor unions and change collective bargaining nationwide. With a president who has expressed his support for a “right to work” system, that change may be closer than ever before.
Our office will continue to post updates on this matter as further developments arise.