APR 08, 2021

SC AG Alan Wilson leads 14-state letter against bill that would require workers to join unions

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – April 8, 2021 - South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is leading a 14-state coalition of attorneys general in sending a letter to U.S. Senate leaders opposing a pro-union bill. The “Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021,” or “PRO Act,” would negate state Right-to-Work laws and require workers to pay union dues in order to keep their jobs.

“A majority of states have laws that protect someone’s right to work without being forced to join a labor union,” Attorney General Wilson said. “This bill would negate those laws and make it much easier to force employees to join unions and pay dues in order to keep their jobs. Coercion to join a labor union is reprehensible and should not be tolerated in any way, shape, or form.”

The letter from the attorneys general points out that unions have long fought Right-to-Work laws, but the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected union arguments that tried to overturn them. For example, in a 1949 case, Lincoln Federal Labor Union No. 19129 v. Northwestern Iron & Metal Co, a union claimed that Right-to-Work laws were unconstitutional, arguing that the right to assemble gave the union the right to require workers to participate in union assemblies or lose their jobs. The Supreme Court quickly ruled against the union and in favor of Right-to-Work laws.

The PRO Act seeks to undermine the Right-to-Work laws passed by 27 states. For example, one section condones union contracts that would force employees to pay union fees “as a condition of employment.”

The attorneys general say in their letter that they are responsible for upholding the laws in their states, including laws that guard the freedom of employees to keep their jobs regardless of whether they pay union dues. The PRO Act would abruptly end 75 years of freedom by ending Right-to-Work laws in 27 states. “Accordingly, we respectfully urge Congress not to enact the PRO Act, particularly those provisions negating the Right-to-Work Laws.”

The attorneys general sent the letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Patty Murray, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Richard Burr.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson led the letter, which was joined by the attorneys general of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia.

You can read the letter here.

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