Lawyer Referral Service

LRS Blog


Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Feb 18, 2015

A “right-to-work” law is a federal statute that prohibits union security agreements, or agreements between labor unions and employers, that govern the extent to which an established union can require employees’ membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment, either before or after hiring.

Arizona is a Right to Work state.  Many people believe it means that you can be fired from your job without explanation, and are therefore reluctant to live and work in a Right to Work state. That is not the basis of the Right to Work concept. A Right to Work law guarantees that no person can be compelled, as a condition of employment, to join or not to join, or to pay dues to a labor union. In other words, if you work in a Right to Work state, like Arizona, and the employees form a union, you may not be fired if you decide not to join. Likewise, if you are a member of a union in a Right to Work state, and you decide to resign from the union, you may not be fired for that reason.

  • If you work primarily in a Right to Work state you have the right to decline joining a union and you cannot be required to pay dues or an agency fee to the union unless you choose to join the union. This includes State or Local Government employees, Public School Teachers and College Professors.

  • If your employment takes place on Federal property, there may be an exception. Check with your specific state.

  • All employees of the Federal Government, including Postal Service employees, by law are guaranteed the right to decline union membership. You cannot be required to pay dues or fees to a union, no matter where you work.

  • Railway and airline employees are not protected by state Right to Work laws.

The effects of right-to-work laws are still up for intense debate.  Some believe that right-to-work laws undermine the work of unions, or that nonunion employees reap the benefits of union representation without paying dues.