General Question

KNOWITALL's avatar

Does anyone here live in a Right To Work state?

Asked by KNOWITALL (19584points) July 20th, 2018

And if so, can you tell me of your personal experience with wages and new business before and after it passed?

We have to decide soon and I’m getting conflicting facts. Tia!

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34 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Georgia is a RTW state.

My personal experience is irrelevant; I’m not in an industry where that comes up.

Look at Delta Airlines (HQ is here in Atlanta). With the exception of the pilot’s union and flight dispatchers union, all other employees are non-union. There have been pushes to unionize over the last number of years, but all have failed because Delta treats its people well.

I can’t speak for other industries. However, I can say that Georgia attracts a whole lot of business, large and small, and I imagine being a RTW state helps in that regard.

KNOWITALL's avatar

That’s exactly what I’m looking for actually. My local politicians say we get bypassed as soon as we say we are NOT a RTW state.
What do those businesses get that makes it that attractive or necessary? Also have YOUR wages decreased in any way since its passage?

ragingloli's avatar

“What do those businesses get that makes it that attractive or necessary?”
They can fire you whenever they want, without giving any reason, and with that kind of leverage they can blackmail you into working for a pittance under whatever conditions they want.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The RTW applies to Unionized companies, the union cannot collect union dues through the company payroll, from non-union members doing the same job or work scope.

I’ve lived in Connecticut and now North Carolina. NC is a RTW state.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@KNOWITALL – a variety of things. For years (decades) the state legislature has passed laws to make state-based regulation (and licensing) easier and more streamlined. Yes, there are lots of laws, like any state, but one or two steps instead of 20 is attractive to business.

Georgia has made a point of having good highways kept in good repair (unlike, for example, California, Alabama, Massachusetts, Illinois, and several other states that don’t keep their highways in good shape.) Since this is a MAJOR transportation hub (highway, rail, air, and ocean), that’s important.

For big companies, there are tax-free deals (but every state does that). For the film industry, Georgia subsidizes (or reduces taxes hugely) film and and production costs for TV and movies that are filmed here. (Walking Dead, for example). So there’s lots of film production and related stuff that takes place here.

Again, I can’t speak for smaller companies with any detail. But people keep moving here and businesses keep growing here, so something that the state does must be working.

Another big advantage—weather (except for a couple weeks of summer) is pretty easy to take year around.

stanleybmanly's avatar

For the life of me I will never understand how it is possible for people who work for a living to fail to appreciate that measures restricting unions are measures against PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR A LIVING.

kritiper's avatar

I do.
Wages stayed the same. Low. No unions.
You want better work conditions? Work someplace else. Don’t want to work someplace else? Then suck it up!

ScienceChick's avatar

The lack of rights of workers in the US baffles me. The fact that they vote to have those rights removed from themselves baffles me even more.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It is astonishing just how common it is for people in this country to act against their own interests.

kritiper's avatar

@ScienceChick We didn’t have all of the correct, honest info to vote correctly. The rich SOB’s created negative POVs on the subject that scared people from voting for it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@kritiper those rich SOBs could not get away with it if the voters (working people) tossed them out.

JLeslie's avatar

I live in a RTW state. I lived in a few actually.

I understand why you might be conflicted. My sister was basically forced to pay union dues in many of the jobs she had. Sometimes it really annoyed her, because in some instances she didn’t feel like it benefitted her. It seems wrong to require someone to join a union. However, probably part of the reason he is paid well is because many companies in her industry are union. Even if she is with a company not unionized, she still is in a he’s ily unionized state, which makes a difference.

I’ve always preferred that employers would just do the decent thing and treat employees reasonably well without unions or regulations, but too often they don’t.

States that are right to work generally have lower wages.

Also, keep in mind that states that are not right to work, it doesn’t mean companies necessarily have unions. Some companies do some don’t.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

For the life of me I will never understand how it is possible for people who work for a living to fail to appreciate that measures restricting unions are measures against PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR A LIVING. Exactly @stanleybmanly Exactly! But then again they voted for ole orange hair.

kritiper's avatar

@stanleybmanly No shit! But when people, any people, tell lies and stretch the truth, how can any one voter know what truth is?? That’s the problem!

kritiper's avatar

If I could chose to be RTW or not, I would say NOT.
RTW means no unions, no rights, no say, low wages. RTW means they can replace you at any time with someone who will do your job for less.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I would avoid it as well, is there anything protecting the working slob any more?

johnpowell's avatar

Food stamps?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I guess that’s all the working slob can expect, after the CEO’s get their fairy tail wage, the share holder get their dividends, the working slob is left with food stamps.
Great system. Trickle down system at it’s finest.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I do, we still have unions and they are still somewhat powerful because they hold most of the cards when it comes to the supply of certain types of skilled labor. The difference is that union membership is not compulsory so if they are not doing their job you can tell them to f off and stop paying dues. The cost of living is low and wages are average. It’s pretty easy to both find a job and make a living here. Industry is actually growing.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I’m wondering why there are answers here from people who don’t live in any U.S. states.
This question is in general, and deserves the serious, on topic answers she asked for. This is a research question, not an opinion piece.

seawulf575's avatar

I have lived in both RTW and non-RTW states. Pay was about the same, though actually a bit higher in the RTW state. Working conditions were better in the RTW state,but that may have more to do with the company. But the union certainly didn’t improve anything. In the non-RTW state, I worked a job that was non-union for a long time and then unionized. Pay went up a pittence…something like 30 cents an hour. It was just about enough of a pay raise to pay for the union dues. Benefits didn’t really change, though they were guaranteed by contract and couldn’t be changed without renegotiation. Flexibility by the supervision went away…in other words, before the union if you needed a day off for something emergent or needed to come in late one day the supervisor could grant it without any effort. After the union there were processes spelled out in the contract and these variations in schedule would not be granted. I found that the union did a couple things to the work place. It made it so that the company couldn’t randomly change the rules to screw the workers…changes to paid meal times, benefit costs, paid holidays, etc. But it also made it a more combative work place. Too many people on both sides of the contract turned it into some sort of “screw you” game. My personal experience was that when I moved from a non-RTW state to a RTW state, my pay went up $10k/year, my 401K matching went from $0.25 per dollar to dollar for dollar, my medical/vision/dental, etc stayed about the same, and I went from working 55–60 hours a week to 40–45. But YMMV.
I think in the long run, in a RTW state it really depends on the company for which you work. If it is a decent company, it will treat its employees well and will attract quality people. If it is a sleazy company it will be tough on its employees, will have high turnover and will not attract the best people.

JLeslie's avatar

I want to add that I know I was wishy washy about what to do, but I absolutely do think that business owners and politicians (especially Republican) who try to frame it solely as a benefit for the worker to be RTW are full of shit and the real main goal is to destroy the union. If intention matters to you, then be aware that is the main intention on that side.

If you don’t have unions then you can wind up with more government regulation if the companies don’t treat employees well. Or, with a socialist president because the masses want a break and some justice.

Small example of abuse by employers in an industry: in the last ten years retailers have been opening much much earlier in Black Friday. Some opening at midnight Black Friday morning. That’s ridiculous and abusive. I think employers should have organized (not unionized, not yet) and simply not show up. Tell the company we won’t do it as a group. If there had been a union they could have helped with this in a big way.

Mind you, the stores outright LIED to the media. Saying no one is forced to work, people want the hours. Our own Augustlan’s 17 year old daughter was forced to work or they would fire her. I told her don’t let her drive to work, and she agreed, and her dad took her. I wouldn’t trust a teen not to fall asleep at the wheel when up all night. I told her make sure she goes to sleep immediately when she gets home so she doesn’t come down with something. She wound up sick for two weeks and in antibiotics.

How did I know she would be sick, and how dangerous it could be on the road? I’ve worked retail, I know what just the extended hours does to the body. The retail owners (stockholders all too often) and upper managers don’t care.

But, as I said, RTW doesn’t mean unions can’t exist, it just makes it harder. Most employers don’t fire employees for no reason just because they can. RTW just makes it easier when you need to fire someone. EEOC still applies in RTW states. Unions can make the workplace very is and them feeling, but not necessarily. It depends on the company and the union. Having been a manager, unions can make it harder in more than onecway to get work done, and I don’t mean I want to take advantage of any employees.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie The thing you need to remember is that with a union, working hours may or may not be controlled. Everything is up to the contract. If the contract does not specifically state that working hours will only be during the day time hours (and to be honest, most don’t say anything like that), the worker would still be forced to come in at midnight, if that is what the company wanted. Most union contracts leave operation of the company up to the company and control the benefits of the workers. In other words, the union won’t try to tell the company what hours they can be open, nor restrict workers from supporting the needs of the company. Many companies, union and non-union, work around the clock. Schedules are set by the company, though some restrictions can be negotiated. No 12 hour days, for example, without extensive compensation. In the case you mentioned, the contract might state that hours outside of a certain range will be paid at some premium so that coming in at midnight might get you an extra $0.50 or $1.00 per hour until 8 a.m. The union isn’t trying to tell the company they can’t open at midnight if they decide that is what they want to do, but they are giving a reward to the worker for changing their hours to support that business need. And, again, in RTW states, shift premiums are still normal. The real difference in a situation such as you mentioned might be in the punishment for not coming in. In a RTW state, the crappy employers can go right to firing you. With a union, there is probably some progressive punishment system for refusing to work. Maybe if you refuse to work when you are forced, you get 3 days off without pay instead of being fired….something like that. It all comes back to the contract, though.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I didn’t understand that the union might have no power over the hours if the contract doesn’t state it, but I still think that the union helps employees organize and have more power. Helps them feel not so afraid to assert themselves.

Mind you, I am not talking about a 24 hour Walmart that always has overnight shifts. I’m talking about retailers that have normal hours that are 10:00am-9:00pm, or something like that. I’m fine with them stretching to 8:00am to 11:00pm. I draw the line at the middle of the night. The sales force was not hired for that, especially if they have been working the last 30 years when crazy extreme hours like that were not part of the deal.

It’s unsafe, exhausting, unhealthy, and unfair.

If all retailers stick to only a few hours extra then it’s a fair playing field. It’s when some of them do 5am door busters, etc, that then the next one needs to compete.

They don’t need a union to have power. A store of 400 employees is not going to be able to fire everyone on Black Friday. They need their sales force for the 5 weeks until Christmas or they are screwed. The employees actually had the power and they never used it. The stores doing this were the big stores: Macy’s, Best Buy, Target, etc.

After years of this going on the outcry in social media has finally started chipping away at it. Some stores are doing it less, some even advertise how they allow their employees to have a Happy Thanksgiving too.

If the government stepped in and just made a law no more than 2 hours earlier or later than normal working hours, all stores would be working with the same rules. Not that I’m saying I want the government to regulate it, but I can see the appeal not only for the employees, but for the employers also.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Thanks for all the detailed answers!
Missouri is being passed over for films and other business, and is a fire at will already, so I don’t see how being RTW can hurt many of us at this point. The unions arent great here, they take your money and dont help per many of my union friends.
There is major marketing to vote no, which always makes me suspicious.
Again, thank you!

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I would not live in a state where people did not have the right to work and the right to make their own choice about union membership and dues. It’s a no-brainer to me. I believe in freedom and liberty. I am an American.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

You are confusing at-will employment and right-to-work. They are not even almost the same things.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I think the politicians are talking out of the wrong orifice.

rojo's avatar

Here in Texas I live in a Right to Work for Peanuts State.

Which side are you on? Pete Seeger

Which side are you on? Dropkick Murphy

KNOWITALL's avatar

@MollyMcGuire Actually I was responding regarding @ragingloli statement. Our state can fire you without a reason currently, so in regards to RTW, that is a non-issue.

rojo's avatar

Unions can and do shoot themselves in the foot many times by not being responsive to their membership or for officials abusing the system. And, they are victims of the ongoing class warfare where the upper class has scared the the peasants into believing that unions are worse for them because they cost them jobs by not letting them work for subsistence wages if they want to and worse yet, are socialist or, God help us, communists. however, unions did, should and do serve a purpose in allowing those who are not management to collectively bargain for the rights of the workers both in terms of safer working conditions, decent pay, overtime pay when needed, a decent number of vacation days, sick and retirement benefits.
It behooves those who own companies or are upper management to keep their workers scared of unions in order to provide low wages, no benefits, no overtime, the ability to call someone a contract worker, etc. Things they could not do if the working class were to organize themselves.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@KNOWITALL Your state can hire or fire without cause because it is an “At Will Employment” state. On the flip side, you may accept a job or quit a job anytime you like without giving a reason in an At-Will state. I wouldn’t live in any other kind of state than one that is both “At Will” and “Right to Work (no forced union membership or dues/fees).” I said you were confusing the two. Do you get it now?

An employment contract or collective bargaining contract overrides the at-will issue though.

From an employer’s standpoint I would not ever be forced to provide a reason for firing. That invites a lawsuit. As long as I’m in an at-will state I can fire anyone by simply handing them a letter (so there is no he said she said) and escorting them out of the office. Of course, a fair severance is appropriate.

Not all of the users here are American, such as the person you mention in your post. When things gets confusing it might be because the person you’re talking to is in a totally different country with different laws.

kruger_d's avatar

No one is forced to join a union. They are in some cases pressured, perhaps, but not forced. Fair share fees are assessed to non-members to cover services that they benefit from—negotiations, lobbying, advocacy, etc. They are not membership dues.

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