The Jan. 7 article, “Relocating? SC looms as 2nd-most-popular choice,” quoted a Clemson economist as saying that South Carolina’s status as a “right-to-work” state means that employees cannot be required to join a union.
This is wrong. Federal law makes it illegal in all states, including those that do not have a so-called right-to-work law, for a worker to be required to belong to a union in order to be hired or to retain a job.
The most that can be required of workers who do not want to join a union chosen by a majority of their fellow workers is that they pay that portion of union dues that covers the costs of bargaining for and administering the collective-bargaining agreement that covers them. And this can only be required if the employer agrees to it.
However, the union is required by law to equally represent all workers, whether they belong to the union or not. This can get quite expensive if the union has to handle a grievance over, say, the employee being terminated without cause.
For years, South Carolinians have been systematically misinformed about what a right-to-work law does. Rather than giving a right to work, it is a “right to freeload” for workers who rely upon the sacrifices of others to benefit from the wages, benefits and protections of a union contract.
Hoyt N. Wheeler