What Right-To-Work Laws Mean

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Union leaders speak as protesters fill the Kentucky Capitol rotunda in protest of a House bill making it illegal for workers to have to join a labor union or pay dues to keep a job, in January 2017, in Frankfort, Ky. (Timothy D. Easley/AP)

More than half of states have adopted right-to-work laws, which mean that workers are not required to pay dues to unions that represent them.

In 2016 only 10.7 percent of American workers belonged to a union, which is a record low, and union efforts to fight right-to-work laws seem to be failing. Proponents say that right-to-work laws make states more competitive, attracting more businesses and jobs.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson looks at the issue with political economist Gordon Lafer. Lafer is an associate professor at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute and author of the forthcoming book “The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time.”

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