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Separating the myths from the facts on Virginia’s right-to-work law

Myth 1: Right-to-work laws prohibit union activity

Right-to-work does NOT prohibit unions from organizing rather they protect workers by making union dues and non-participation fees optional.

Virginia’s right-to-work statute (§ 40.1-58) states: “It is hereby declared to be the public policy of Virginia that the right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union or labor organization.


Myth 2: Workers aren’t protected in right-to-work states

The National Labor Relations Act and other federal statutes protect the rights of workers and their ability to unionize regardless of a state’s right-to-work status.

The Taft-Hartley Act allows states to protect workers’ choice by allowing states to make union participation optional without having to pay a fee for non-membership.


Myth 3: Virginia is the “Worst State for Workers”

Oxfam’s ranking looks at only three areas that fail to comprehensively measure states’ quality for people to work and live. They curiously include the “Dillon Rule” as a policy that makes a state worse for workers.

Virginia is one of the BEST states in which to work and raise a family - #1 in quality of life, #1 in education, #7 in median household income, 7th lowest unemployment rate, and 14th lowest poverty rate.


Myth 4: Right-to-work states’ economies under-perform

According to NERA Economic Consulting, right-to-work laws have a positive impact on economic growth, employment, investment and innovation.

Right-to-work states do better than non-right-to-work states in terms of personal income growth (39% compared to 26%) and employment growth (27% compared to 15%) when viewed overtime from 2001-2016.


Myth 5: Unions can charge non-membership fees and a state can still maintain its “right-to-work” status

False. One of the key safeguards of right-to-work laws is that they protect workers from compulsory union membership dues or fees for non-membership in the union. Without these protections, workers would be forced to pay unions, whether they agree with union activities such as lobbying and political advocacy or not.

Source: Virginia Chamber of Commerce