Congressional Republicans Introduce National Right-to-Work Bill

Sen. Rand Paul / Getty Images
February 24, 2021

Congressional Republicans reintroduced an act Wednesday that would allow employees to opt out of labor union membership.

The National Right to Work Act would repeal provisions that mandate that employees pay union dues as a condition of employment. The bill would achieve this goal by amending existing labor law that allows for the deduction of union dues from paychecks.

The reintroduction of the legislation comes as Democratic leaders signal their support for the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which would drastically overhaul national labor laws. The act, which passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in 2020, weakens right-to-work laws passed by more than half of the states in the country and recategorizes millions of independent contractors as employees. President Joe Biden said he would support the enactment of the PRO Act.

Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) previously introduced the right-to-work bill in February 2019, but it did not come up for a vote in the Senate. Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.) introduced the bill in the House.

"The Supreme Court has already ruled that government employees have the right to work under federal law. My bill makes sure that employees of private businesses, airlines, railroads will get the same protections," Paul said in a video announcing the reintroduction of the act.

"Kentucky and 26 other states have already passed right-to-work laws," Paul said. "It's time for the federal government to follow their lead."

The introduction of the act comes less than a week after Paul joined fellow Republican senators Tom Cotton (Ark.), Rick Scott (Fla.), and Mike Braun (Ind.) in writing a letter criticizing Biden's controversial firing of the head of a major labor arbiter.

The Biden administration took the "unprecedented action" of terminating Peter Robb, the former National Labor Relations Board general counsel, shortly after Biden took office.

"Peter Robb's termination, in defiance of more than seven decades of Supreme Court precedent and Presidential practice, undermines the ability of the National Labor Relations Board to function as the meaningfully independent entity Congress designed it to be," the letter states.