Research: Right to Work

Winter 2023 (PF Research):

Right to Work Laws

Every month or every other month, the National Debate Education association releases a series of debate topics for students to debate at our online (and eventually in-person) events. For the upcoming public forum debate events in February, this topic asks us to consider the desirability of right-to-work laws, which appear to weaken labor unions. The documents and information contained here are designed to help students prepare for these upcoming events. 
Please use the events calendar for more information.

The formal topic language: 
Resolved: In the United States, right-to-work laws do more harm than good.
Additional Research (Part-02): Click Here.

[NSDA Public Forum] FEB 2023: Right to Work Laws

The public forum debate topic for the NSDA events taking place in the month of February, will use the following topic: 
Resolved: In the United States, right-to-work laws do more harm than good.

Research Topic: Right to Work Laws


The term “right to work’ relates to or promotes the right of a worker to be able to obtain employment without being required to join a labor union to do so. When right to work laws are in place, workers cannot be compelled to pay for any cost of union representation, even if the union is active in the workplace and represents many of the other employees. It is a government regulation of contractual agreements between labor unions and employers to prevent the exclusion of non-union workers… The advantage of having right to work provisions in place is that it allows skilled workers to find beneficial employment while preserving their paycheck for their own needs. Some unions may require dues of up to 3.5%, which can take a healthy cut out of a worker’s take-home pay. The disadvantage of having right to work provisions in place is that it enhances the at-will nature of most employment contracts. In an at-will environment, any justifiable reason for termination can cause a worker to lose their job. That reason does not need to be performance related for the termination to be lawful. Termination without disciplinary action may allow unemployment benefits to be obtained, it lessens the protections of workers for their daily employment.
— Pros and Cons of Right-To-Work (KTTN News, July 25, 2018)


Right to Work Laws: Lions, Tigers and Unions. Oh My!
Hip Hughes, February 25, 2015 [9 min]
Note: His information sounds strong, as he uses lots of statistics. I would research his arguments and try to find a more reliable-sounding source for your evidence.

Voters face ‘Right to Work’ addition to Tennessee constitution,
News Channel 5, August 9, 2022 [2 min]

“Right to work” amendment explained,
ABC News, November 23, 2021 [2 min]

Why Right-to-Work Laws are Bad for Workers’ Rights,
Operating Engineers Local 3, February 16, 2021 [5 min]

[OPTIONAL] Michigan ‘Right-to-Work’ Laws Spark Debate on Labor Unions,
PBS Newshour, December 11, 2012 [12 min]
Note: Please consider watching this highly reputable news program, which explains the subject well.


America’s unions are gentrifying,
The Economist, December 14, 2022 [PDF]

Right-To-Work Laws Are Good For Workers,
Forbes Magazine, October 23, 2019 [PDF]

Pros and Cons of Right-To-Work and how they might affect you,
KTTN News, July 25, 2018 [PDF]

[Optional = Skim] Paradox Of Right to Work Laws and International Human Rights Law,
Amadea Datel, Columbia University, Law Review, August 17, 2021 [PDF]


[VIDEO] Right-to-Work Laws,
GregU, an e-Learning Provider, October 11, 2018 [3 min]

The Future Looks Bright for the Right-to-Work Movement,
Raymond J. LaJeunesse, Jr., Regulatory Review (Opinion), April 5, 2019

The Long-Run Effects of Right to Work Laws,
Harvard University, November 16, 2021
Note: The abstract is just one page long. fyi

The Future of Worker Power: Labor Organizing and Labor Law at a Crossroads,
Yale University, October 18, 2022

Right to Work Laws and Union Membership,
Marie Siliciano, Princeton University, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2022, 2017


Bill Eddy,   
714.655.8135 (I prefer text)
When contacting me, please include your name and class information (day/time). Thanks

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