Modern Union FAQs

See how building and construction labor unions continue to uplift workers and communities.

What is Right to Work?

11.10.17

What is Right to Work?

Right to Work is a policy that makes it possible for non-union workers to work in unionized workplaces. While there are existing federal laws that prevent workers from being forced to join unions, Right to Work policies are different, being championed at the state level by big corporations that seek to diminish the bargaining power and collective strength of unions by dividing workers. Right to Work laws make it more difficult for working people to form unions and advocate for the kinds of protections and benefits that they collectively seek.

Is Right to Work good or bad?

There are also economic and social concerns with Right to Work policies. There’s a 15.3% higher poverty rate in Right to Work states, and 12 of the states with the worst pay gaps between men and women are Right to Work states, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and AFL-CIO. Right to Work states also tend to have lower wages and fewer benefits overall, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Do we have Right to Work laws in Minnesota?

Minnesota is not currently a Right to Work state. However, Minnesota is surrounded by Right to Work states, and legislation could be introduced here that seeks to strip unions of their power to serve their members and do good for our community. It’s up to all of us to reject Right to Work policies, and any other policy that looks to divide our communities or harm Minnesota’s workers. Add your name to our list of union supporters, so we can contact you should these issues surface in the future.

What would it mean for Minnesota’s construction unions?

Right to Work laws in Minnesota would mean that nonunion workers could work at unionized shops. That would not only decrease bargaining power, but because of union members’ extensive training, it could lower the quality of the work that’s building our state, not just because some workers will not be as prepared as the union guarantees, but also because less revenue is supporting union training centers, which are often critical career pathways for folks not bound for college. And, by undermining union strength, even unionized members may receive lower wages and fewer benefits, which has ripple effects across all of Minnesota’s middle class.

What can I do to support unions?

Just because Right to Work legislation isn’t currently on the table in Minnesota doesn’t mean there’s nothing for you to do. Writing or calling your legislators to voice your support of unions is one of the best ways to show that Minnesotans want to keep Right to Work laws out of our state. Our Take Action page has information on how to find and contact your legislator.

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