AG Fitch and 13 Attorneys General Ask Congress to Let State Right-to-Work Laws Stand

Published 3:14 pm Thursday, April 8, 2021

Attorney General Lynn Fitch has joined a 14-state coalition of attorneys general in sending a letter to U.S. Senate leaders opposing a pro-union bill which passed the House of Representatives on a near party-line vote. 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. “Right-to-Work Laws protect American workers,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch.

“Every Mississippian deserves the freedom to decide how their hard-earned dollars will be spent, and they should not be forced to pay union dues as a requirement of their employment. My colleagues and I urge Congress to put the American worker first.” 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.

The PRO Act would undermine the Right-to-Work Laws passed by 27 states, including Mississippi.

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One section condones union contracts that would force employees to pay union fees “as a condition of employment.” Other sections would impose the so-called ABC Test recently rejected by 58 percent of California voters for distinguishing employees from independent contractors; legalize secondary boycotts by unions, which have been illegal since the 1940s; and mandate employers turn over personal information about employees to union organizers. The attorneys general make clear 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 (HELP) Committee Chair Patty Murray; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell; and Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Richard Burr. Attorney General Lynn Fitch joins the attorneys general of South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma,Utah, and West Virginia.