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Maryland Right to Work Laws

People from the Old Line State work hard. From our shipping and transportation industry to aerospace and defense, Marylanders put in the work to make the country go. And while we generally don’t mind our bosses, the employer-employee relationship can get testy.

In some cases, we’ve turned to unions to act on behalf of workers when negotiating with management. A recent trend has seen many states passing laws that affect the way unions, employees, and employers work together. This is a brief summary of what are known as “right-to-work” laws in Maryland.

Right to Work Laws

Over the past few years, about half of the states have written and enacted "right-to-work" laws. These statutes prohibit employers and unions from requiring union membership in order for employees to get and keep a job. To date, Maryland has no such laws on the books.

Right to Work Statutes in Maryland

While Maryland has no explicit right-to-work law on the books, Section 4-304 of the state’s Labor and Employment Code prohibits any promise between (prospective) employees and (prospective) employers or any other party if the promise requires either party:

  • To join or remain a member of a labor organization;
  • Not to join or not to remain a member of a labor organization; or
  • To withdraw from an employment relation if the party joins or remains a member of a labor organization.

Code Section

No statutory provisions

Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc.

-

Prohibited Activity

-

Penalties

-

Right-to-work laws control the relationship between employers, employees, and unions by preventing employers or unions from excluding non-union workers or requiring existing employees to join a union or pay union dues. As noted above, most right-to-work laws are relatively new and have been adopted, in some version, by about half the states.

Due to the recent nature of the trend and the legal entanglements of some right-to-work laws, studies have yet to determine the overall impact of the laws on union membership, wages, and collective bargaining agreements. While most business interests and chambers of commerce have lobbied heavily in favor of right-to-work laws, unions have universally opposed the measures.

Maryland Right to Work Laws: Related Resources

Even though Maryland doesn’t currently have a right-to-work statute on the books, that could always change. If you would like legal assistance with an employment or union matter, you can contact a Maryland labor attorney.You can also visit FindLaw’s Employee Rights Center for more articles and resources on this topic.

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