Arkansas Right to Work Laws

A growing number of states have adopted laws prohibiting union security agreements that dictate whether workers in unionized workplaces must join the union or pay a monthly fee to cover the expenses associated with unionization. Commonly referred to as "right to work" laws, these statutes have been very controversial. To be clear, employees in states without right to work laws are not required to join unions as long as they pay a monthly surcharge. And regardless of their union status, employees in unionized workplaces are still entitled to the compensation and benefits gained by the union.

Opponents of right to work laws, including of course unions, insist they are only intended to cripple union activity and bargaining power. However, proponents say that it's fundamentally unfair to require union membership or even payment of dues, particularly when you take unions' contributions to political campaigns.

Arkansas Right to Work Laws at a Glance

The Arkansas Constitution states that "No person shall be denied employment ... because of refusal to join or affiliate with a labor union," which also is echoed in a right to work statute that was enacted in 1947. Any violation of the statute may be charged as a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of at least $100 and no more than $5,000 for each charge (each day the company or union is in violation counts as a charge).

More details about Arkansas's right to work laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Unions section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section Ark. Const. Amend. XXXIV; 11-3-301, et seq.
Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc. Freedom of organized labor to bargain collectively and unorganized labor to bargain individually.
Prohibited Activity Union affiliation or nonaffiliation not to be condition of employment; contracts to exclude persons from employment.
Penalties Persons violating chapter guilty of a misdemeanor; fined not less than $100 nor more than $5,000.

Note: State laws may change at any time, usually through the enactment of newly signed legislation but sometimes through higher court decisions and other means. You may want to contact an Arkansas labor law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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