If you are employed in one of the 26 states that has a Right to Work law, you are probably protected by the state’s Right to Work law and cannot be required to join or pay dues or fees to a union. (There are a small number of exceptions to the basic rule that individuals who work in Right to Work states cannot be required to pay to join or pay dues or fees to a union. Employees of airlines and railroads, and employees working on property subject to exclusive federal jurisdiction, cannot be required to join a union, but may be required to pay union fees. If you are an airline or railroad employee, click here for an explanation of your rights. If you work on property subject to exclusive federal jurisdiction, call the Foundation for further information.)
The following states have a Right to Work law:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin , and Wyoming.
Under federal labor law and the state’s Right to Work law, you have the right to resign from membership in a union at any time. If you resign from membership, you may not be able to participate in union elections or meetings, vote in collective bargaining ratification elections, or participate in other “internal” union activities. If you resign, you cannot be disciplined by the union for any post-resignation conduct.
If you resign from union membership, you are still fully covered by the collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated between your employer and the union, and the union remains obligated to represent you. Any benefits that are provided to you by your employer pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement (e.g., wages, seniority, vacations, pension, health insurance) will not be affected by your resignation. (If the union offers some “members-only” benefits, you might be excluded from receiving those.)
The Foundation neither encourages nor discourages you from resigning. The decision is yours alone.
If you choose to resign and stop paying dues, and are on automatic “dues check off,” you should notify both the union and your employer in writing that you are resigning and revoking your authorization for automatic dues check off. While you may resign from union membership at anytime, you may be limited to a specific “window period” before you are able to end the automatic dues deductions. If that is what you are told, ask the union for a copy of the actual dues deduction card that you signed, and contact the Foundation for further information.
Your choice is protected by federal labor law and the state’s Right to Work law. If you have any questions, or feel that your legal rights need to be protected, please call the Foundation’s toll-free number, 1-800-336-3600.