What are 'Right to Work' Laws?
A growing number of states have adopted laws that do away with requirements that employees join a union and pay dues if they are part of a bargaining unit. These are typically referred to as "right to work" laws, a name which reflects the perspective of those who support such laws. Unions and union members oppose these laws as an attempt to suppress their numbers, while supporters claim it's unfair to "force" someone to join a union. But even if someone in a right to work state refuses to join a union, they still are covered by the same protections and enjoy the same benefits as their union dues-paying colleagues.
As a matter of law, right to work statutes make it illegal to consider union membership status as a condition of employment.
Does Minnesota Have a Right to Work Law?
Minnesota does not have a right to work law, which means employees that are part of a unionized workforce must join the union or make "fair share" payments equivalent to the cost of union dues. Such fair share dues payments are not enforceable in states with right to work laws, even though they benefit from gains achieved through union activity.
See FindLaw's Unions section for more articles and resources.
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Note: State laws are in a constant state of flux and often change through legislation, case law, or ballot initiative. FindLaw makes every effort to stay up-to-date, but you may also want to contact a Minnesota employment law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
The Minnesota Labor Relations Act
While the state's Labor Relations Act (MLRA) contains several provisions that protect unions at private companies and regulate their activities, it is mostly preempted by the much-broader National Labor Relations Act (NLRA, a federal law). For the most part, it only comes into play for small employers that are not covered by the federal NLRA. If you have specific questions about union laws in Minnesota, be sure to speak with a labor lawyer in your area.
Research the Law
Minnesota Right to Work Laws: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.