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Oklahoma Right to Work Laws

Quite a few states have adopted what are commonly referred to as "right to work" laws, which prohibit union security agreements that determine whether employees in unionized work forces must join the union. Employees in unionized workplaces in states that have passed these laws are not required to join the union or pay dues, even though they are still entitled to the compensation and benefits gained by the union.

To be clear, federal law already prohibits forced union membership, but allows unions to require non-union workers to pay a fee in order to cover the costs of representation. Right-to-work laws essentially prohibit this requirement.

Oklahoma Right to Work Law at a Glance

Oklahoma lawmakers passed a constitutional referendum prohibiting union surety contracts (the essence of all "right to work" laws) in 2001. While this state constitutional amendment prohibits union membership (or nonmembership) as a condition of employment, already prohibited under federal law, the relevant portion of the law also bans the requirement that non-members pay monthly payment. This is significant because even non-union members enjoy the benefits won by the representative union, and they are required to represent non-members as well.

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

Code Section Okla. Const. art. 23, § 1A
Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc.

No one should be required, as a condition of employment, to:

  • Resign from voluntary union membership;
  • Become or remain a union member;
  • Pay dues, fees, or charges of any kind to a labor union;
  • Pay a pro rata portion of dues to any third party, in lieu of union payments; or
  • Be recommended, approved, referred, or cleared by a union.
Prohibited Activity Union dues or fees may not be deducted from an employee's wages without their authorization
Penalties Misdemeanor

Note: State laws may change at any time, typically through the implementation of new legislature or decisions by higher courts at either the state or federal leve. Be sure to contact an Oklahoma labor rights attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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