The Corner

Law & the Courts

No, Right to Work Doesn’t ‘Take’ Unions’ Property

Every time a state enacts a Right to Work statute, big labor brings in a team of lawyers to argue that the law is somehow illegal. Never mind that federal law has permitted states to do this since 1947 and the federal courts have often rebuffed arguments that such laws violate the constitutional rights of unions. One argument, e.g., is that by allowing workers who don’t choose to pay dues to the union to keep their money, the law is actually an unconstitutional taking of union property.

After West Virginia enacted Right to Work in 2016, the AFL-CIO hunted for a friendly judge who’d issue an injunction to block the law and found one who issued one, based on her notion that the unions were “likely” to win on the merits. That far-fetched ruling was recently reversed by the state Supreme Court. The Court’s rebuke makes for very savory reading, as I explain in this Forbes article.

Big labor would rather try these Hail Mary passes to block Right to Work laws than figure out how to win and keep the voluntary support of the workers they represent. After all, it would make no difference if workers were persuaded that the union had their interests at heart, did beneficial things for them, and needed their money.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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