Opinion: Commentary: Fair Share Fees Threaten Right to Work Laws

Opinion: Commentary: Fair Share Fees Threaten Right to Work Laws

Virginia’s Right-to-Work laws have produced fairness for employees and economic growth for communities. Now, two bills introduced in the Virginia General Assembly threaten Virginia’s long tradition of Right-to-Work.

House Bill 153 would completely repeal Right-to-Work laws and Senate Bill 426 requires “Fair Share Fees” making Right-to-Work laws meaningless.

Senate Bill 426 "Fair Share Fees" would authorize an employer to require as a condition of employment any employee who is not a member of a labor union or labor organization and is a member of a collective bargaining unit to pay up to 60 percent of the union dues.

Forcing employees to either pay fees or join the union as a requirement of employment essentially removes the intent of Right-to-Work laws. It would have the same impact on choice and economic development as an outright repeal of the law.

Job growth is stronger in Right-to-Work states. A January 4th Washington Post article reported that in the first 10 months of 2019, Northern Virginia gained 19,500 jobs compared to just 200 jobs in suburban non-Right to Work Maryland.

Right-to-Work is good for both employers and employees. A study conducted by NERA Economic Consulting from 2010 to 2016 found that wages in Right-to-Work states grew 36 percent while non-Right-to-Work states only saw wages grow 26 percent.

There is broad public support for Right-to-Work laws. Twenty-seven states have Right-to-Work laws and a 2014 Gallup poll found that 71 percent of voters would vote for Right-to-Work Laws.

Senate Bill 426 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor. Senator Adam Ebbin and Senator Scott Surovell are members of this committee. Senator Dick Saslaw is chair of the committee and sponsor of this bill.

Right-to-Work laws are part of the pro-business environment in Virginia that supports business growth and development. We encourage businesses and individuals to contact their elected representatives and urge them to maintain Virginia’s Right-to-Work laws.