With their first statewide majority in 26 years, Virginia Democrats are ready to leave their mark.
Virginia’s right-to-work legislation was first established in 1947 by statute.
Virginia is among 27 states with right-to-work laws which allow workers the freedom to not join a union as a condition of employment
According to a report from the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, in right-to-work states, the rate of job growth was double that of states with forced unionization.
There are numerous factors such as low taxes and regulation that make certain areas more attractive for businesses to set up shop at. However, many employers point to right-to-work laws as a major factor for their moves to the more labor freedom-oriented Sun Belt.
Right-to-work has also made Northern Virginia an attractive hub for businesses compared to Maryland’s Washington, D.C., suburbs. Last year, 70% of jobs created in the Washington, D.C. metro area were located in Northern Virginia. Only 4% of workers in Virginia are part of a union whereas 11.3% of workers are unionized in Maryland. Similarly, the proportion of unionized construction workers is five times higher in Maryland than Virginia.
Newly elected Democrats are now looking to pay back their Big Labor supporters. Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw is pushing legislation that would enable unions to mandate non-members to pay “fair share fees” to bear the costs of collective bargaining, organization, and other “representation” activities.
The Supreme Court’s Janus decision in 2018 prohibits governments from requiring public workers to pay forced union dues but did not rule on private sector workers. Under the Virginia bill, workers could be required to fund unions regardless if they join or not. This would effectively repeal Virginia’s right-to-work law.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was ambiguous about right-to-work when he told a group of businesses that “I don’t want to do anything that would threaten our AAA bond rating or our status as the number one state for businesses . . . such as repealing [Virginia’s] right-to-work law.”
At the same time, congressional Democrats are pushing legislation to repeal right-to-work laws nationwide.
Democrats across the country are ready to destroy right-to-work and make sure they have a unionized labor force that will faithfully contribute to their campaigns.