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Kansas Right to Work Laws

Whether it’s the aviation industry in Wichita or agricultural output as part of the Grain Belt, the Sunflower State works hard and we’re happy to do so. But in larger industries, the employee-employer relationship can get contentious. And in some cases, it helps to have unions act on labor’s behalf when negotiating contract terms with management. This association, between employee, union, and employer, has always been governed by a strict, but evolving set of labor regulations. Here is an overview of “right-to-work” laws in Kansas.

Right to Work Laws

In the simplest sense, state "right-to-work" laws prohibit unions and employers from requiring employees to be union members (or to pay membership dues) in order for to obtain or stay on a job. Kansas passed a right-to-work amendment to the state constitution in 1958, and added statutory provisions in 1975 that allow for a civil lawsuit in case of a constitutional violation.

Right to Work Statutes in Kansas

The details of Kansas’s right to work statutes are listed below.

Code Section

Kansas Constitution Article XV §12: Membership or Nonmembership in Labor Organizations;

Kansas Statutes 44-831: Violations of Right to Work Amendment

Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc.

There is a cause of action if there is a constitutional violation. No person shall be denied opportunity to obtain or retain employment because of membership or nonmembership in any labor organization.

Prohibited Activity

Agreements to exclude persons from employment or continuance of employment based on membership or nonmembership in any labor organization.

Penalties

Damages; attorney's fees.

Labor law in the United States has often swung from pro-management to pro-labor and back, and about half of all states currently have right-to-work laws either in their state constitution or statutory code. These laws manage the relationship between employees, employers, and unions by preventing both employers and unions from excluding non-union workers or requiring existing employees to join a union or pay union dues.

Politically, unions have almost universally opposed right-to-work laws, while most business interests and Chambers of Commerce have lobbied heavily in favor of these measures. With a few states passing new statutes somewhat recently, right-to-work laws have been more prevalent in the news lately, and their overall impact on union membership, wages, and collective bargaining agreements has yet to be fully determined.

More Resources for Kansas Right to Work Laws

State employment laws can be confusing. You can visit FindLaw’s Employee Rights Center for additional articles and information on this topic. You can also consult with a Kansas labor attorney in your area if you would like legal assistance regarding an employment or union matter.

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