National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

This week’s lesson discussed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and its impact on the employer-employee power dynamic in America. However, the inception of ‘right to work’ laws have had a controversial effect on the evolution of unions. Some argue that ‘right to work’ laws protect the freedom of employees to decide when and how they will associate and contribute financially to unions in their respective workplaces. However, opponents of ‘right to work’ laws argue that they are the political brainchildren of wealthy corporate interests, and are designed to undermine the power of unions by denying them the ability to maintain necessary sources of funding. 

Watch the short video on the subject from former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

Then, consider and comment on the following question:

1. On which side of the ‘right to work’ law debate do you fall? Do they rightfully protect worker interests, or are they a corrupt strategy to destroy collective bargaining? Is your state a ‘right to work’ state? Keeping your answer to this question in context, how influential are the unions which operate in your state’s major industries?

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