North Carolina Right to Work Laws

An Overview of Right to Work Laws

So-called "right to work" laws are statutes that prohibit the use of union membership (or non-membership) as a condition for getting hired. But in actual practice, these statutes prohibit the requirement that non-union members pay a monthly fee to cover the costs of representation (since even non-union employees at unionized work sites are entitled to union representation). In states without these laws, employees at work sites with collective bargaining agreements must either join the union or pay a monthly fee comparable to union dues.Those who oppose these laws argue that they are only intended to reduce union membership.

The term "right to work" was coined by supporters of this kind of legislation and doesn't accurately describe its actual function. Also, it is important to point out that federal labor law already prohibits "forced union membership," even though state right to work laws typically add this into the statute.

North Carolina Right to Work Law at a Glance

North Carolina's right to work laws prohibit the requirement that non-union workers pay union dues (even though all employees may benefit from the union's efforts).  

The highlights of North Carolina right to work laws are listed in the following chart. See FAQs About Union Members' Rights to learn more.

Code Section 95-78, et seq.
Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc. The right to live includes the right to work. The right to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or nonmembership in any labor union or organization.
Prohibited Activity Agreement or combination between employer and labor organization where nonmembers are denied right to work or where membership is made condition of employment or where organization acquires employment monopoly; nonmembership status as condition of employment; payment of dues as condition of employment.
Penalties Any damages sustained.

Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, usually through the enactment of new legislation but sometimes through higher court decisions or other means. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you also may want to contact a North Carolina employment law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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