Georgia is one of 27 U.S. states who have right to work laws on the books. This law ensures that employers have the freedom to choose their own employees. Unions, on the other hand, prefer that employers hire union employees or at least require non-union employees to pay certain fees for the union’s work negotiating contract terms regarding pay and benefits as well as protecting rights of workers.
Unions have seen an erosion of power in recent years because of these laws and other rulings, including the one against “fair share” fees where unions could still collect fees from non-members for negotiating employment contract terms for all workers.
Missouri voters overturn law
A state that traditionally votes conservatively, Missouri voters voted 2-1 in favor of overturning a 2017 right to work law known as Proposition A. This is the first time that voters have overturned a right to work law. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, voters in both rural and urban areas voted for the overturn, with particularly strong support coming from the Southeastern part of the state where labor has a strong foothold. Just 14 of the state’s 114 counties supported the law.
The victory did not come cheap
Right to work advocates are quick to point out that labor spent $20 million to win this vote, far outspending the other side. There was also much concern about a huge influx of money coming from dark money sources, big business not based in the state as well as national organizations.
Changes afoot in employment law
This labor victory piggy-backs on recent union victories for teachers in West Virginia and Oklahoma, who got substantial raises from Republican-controlled legislatures. It is too early to tell if or how these employment law issues will evolve here in Georgia. Nevertheless, employers and employee groups would be wise to consult with an attorney to see if there have been changes or likely to be changes that will affect their work or business.