Employment Law Blog

A Note on California Labor Unions

9/5/2016 by Joseph M. Hekmat


Many states have what are known as “right to work” laws.  Some critics have labeled these laws as really meaning “right to fire” because they allow an employer to terminate the employment relationship with an employee at any time for any reason.  Critics of these laws also contend that these laws discourage union membership at corporations and other employers because they allow employees of a unionized workplace to opt out of contributing union dues but still enjoy the benefits of a contract that is negotiated by a union at their workplace.  California is not a right to work state, entitling unions in California to negotiate on behalf of all employees and collect “fair share” fees from non-union employees who benefit from any contracts negotiated with an employer.

California Is Not a Right to Work State

California is not a right to work state.  This means that in California unions can negotiate contracts with employers that require all workers at a particular employer to support the union as a condition of employment.  Any employees who decline to become members of the union are charged what are referred to as “fair share” fees to cover the union’s collective bargaining costs.  This is not permitted in states like Florida or Georgia, which both have right to work laws.  However, such laws also make it easier to hire and fire employees for any reason and have been cited as giving employers in such states cover to retaliate against or terminate employees for illegal reasons.

Recent Efforts to Make California a Right to Work State

In 2012, an attempt was made by advocates of right to work laws to include California among the 26 states that are currently right to work states.  (West Virginia became the latest in February 2016).  Proposition 32, also known as the “Paycheck Protection” ballot initiative, was defeated on November 6, 2012 by a vote of 56.6% to 43.3%.  This ballot initiative would have, among other things, banned corporate and employee unions to candidates for state and local office and also banned automatic deductions from employees’ paychecks by an employer, union, or government of funds that would be used for political purposes.  Similar ballot measures were also previously defeated in California in 2005 (Proposition 75) and 1998 (Proposition 226).

Contact Hekmat Law Group if Your Rights as An Employee Have Been Violated in California

If you have been retaliated against or suffered discrimination in the workplace in any form, contact the experienced employee rights attorneys of the Hekmat Law Group at 424-888-4LAW (4529) to discuss your legal options today.  The experienced attorneys at Hekmat Law Group have been representing employees in unpaid wage, retaliation, discrimination and many other employment-law related matters for years.  We provide personalized attention to every client and will use every legal option at our disposal to ensure that your rights as a California employee are protected.

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