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Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA

Sherman Leads 28 Members of Congress Against So- Called “Right-to-Work” Laws


Dec 11, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Brad Sherman announced the introduction of legislation that would eliminate so-called “right-to-work” laws, which was applauded by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Sherman has a strong record of supporting working men and women, having introduced this same legislation in the 110th, 111th, and 112th Congress, and consistently earning a 100% rating from the AFL-CIO.

“We now have 24 states with ‘Right-to-Work’ provisions,” said Sherman.  “Their stated goal: take jobs from other states by offering a more business friendly climate. In other words: weaker unions and lower wages.  Only by ending so-called ‘Right-to-Work’ nationwide can we stop the race to the bottom.”

Right-to-work laws require unions to represent non-dues-paying employees, thereby undermining the basic premise and promise of union membership and creating free riders – people who are exempt from paying their fair share. Right-to-work laws create different standards for union membership in different states. This results not only in confusion over the regulation of union membership, but also places a higher cost on worker representation in labor rights states. Right-to-work laws have come to be known as right-to-work-for-less laws, because employees in states with these laws average about $5,680 a year less than workers in labor rights states.

“I do not believe that there should be a right to be treated unfairly or to endure unnecessary restrictions. Right-to-work laws strip unions of their legitimate ability to collect dues, even when the worker is covered by a union-negotiated collective bargaining agreement. This forces unions to use their time and members’ dues to provide benefits to free riders who are exempt from paying their fair share,” Congressman Sherman continued. “These laws are harmful to states like California, which allows labor unions to organize, because now we have to compete with the race to the bottom, as our companies have to compete with those where the workers would like better wages, working conditions and benefits but are unable to organize to get them.”

“With the introduction of legislation banning so-called right-to-work, Congressman Sherman has once again demonstrated his strong commitment to working families,” said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. “Right-to-work laws undermine the economy and weaken workers' ability to bargain for better working conditions, which translates into lower pay and fewer benefits for everyone.”

In 1947, Section 14(b) of the Taft Hartley Act stripped the federal government of its role in protecting the American workers’ right to freedom of association by allowing states to pass legislation that eliminates the ability of unions to collect dues from their members. The result is a confusing web of labor laws that encourages a race to the bottom.

The list of original cosponsors includes:

Karen Bass (D-CA)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Robert A. Brady (D-PA)
Tony Cárdenas (D-CA)
Judy Chu (D-CA)
Emanuel Cleaver  (D-MO)
John Conyers, Jr.  (D-MI)
John D. Dingell (D-MI)
Elliot Engel (D-NY)
Sam Farr (D-CA)
Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
Raúl Grijalva (D- AZ)
Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL)
Janice Hahn (D-CA)
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Henry C. “Hank” Jr. Johnson (D-GA)
Alan S. Lowenthal (D-CA)
Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA)
Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL)
Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
John Tierney (D-MA)