National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, established in 1968, is a nonprofit, charitable organization whose stated mission is to "eliminate coercive union power through strategic litigation, public information, and education programs".
The Right to Work principle–the guiding concept of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation–affirms the right of every American to work for a living without being compelled to belong to a union.
Right-to-work laws are statutes in effect and enforced in twenty-seven U.S. states that prohibit union security agreements between employers and workers' unions. In order to build membership and bolster their financial resources, unions often try to convince employers to include a "union security clause" in the contracts they negotiate. These clauses specify union membership and financial support requirements for employees. Security clauses are necessary, argue the unions, to support the costs of bargaining and employee representation.
Many employers mistakenly believe that they are legally required to have such clauses in their contracts, but the law does not mandate union membership or employees' financial support. A union security agreement is only a permissive topic of bargaining, not a mandatory one: The employer must agree to it before it can be enforced against employees as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
Under Right-to-work laws, employees in unionized workplaces may not be compelled to join a union, nor compelled to pay for any part of the cost of union representation. When union leadership chooses to be certified as exclusive representatives of a bargaining unit, it thereby subjects itself to the Duty of Fair Representation, a federal requirement to serve all members of the bargaining unit, irrespective of whether they pay dues or not. It is based on this choice to be exclusive representatives that unions create the condition whereby they then claim those in Right To Work states who refuse to pay dues are "free-riders" and that Right To Work laws therefore deprive unions of their property.
- Mark Mix, President
- Raymond LaJeunesse, Jr., Vice President and Legal Director
U.S. Supreme Court cases
The Foundation has represented employees in the following cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States:
- 1977 - Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209
- 1984 - Ellis v. Railway Clerks, 466 U.S. 435
- 1985 - Pattern Makers v. NLRB, 473 U.S. 95
- 1986 - Teachers v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292
- 1988 - Communications Workers of America v. Beck, 487 U.S. 735
- 1991 - Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association, 500 U.S. 507
- 1998 - Air Line Pilots v. Miller, 523 U.S. 866
- 1998 - Marquez v. Screen Actors, 525 U.S. 33
- 2007 - Davenport v. Washington Education Association, 551 U.S. 177
- 2008 - Locke v. Karass, 07-610 (2008)
- 2012 - Knox v. SEIU
- 2013 - Mulhall v. UNITE HERE
- 2014 - Harris v. Quinn
- 2018 - Janus v. AFSCME
- "National Right to Work Foundation » About". www.nrtw.org. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
- "National Right to Work Foundation » Foundation Frequently-Asked Questions". www.nrtw.org. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
- "Union Security and Membership Obligations". Retrieved 2017-09-13.
- Higgins, Sean. "Kentucky unions sue over right-to-work law". Washington Examiner. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- Leef, George C. (2005). Free Choice for Workers: A History of the Right to Work Movement. Jameson Books. pp. 147–150, 272–274. ISBN 0-915463-97-0.