Many news outlets have trumpeted the introduction of new proposed federal legislation that would remove the ability of employee organizations and unions to have so-called “security agreements” in place, which require covered employees in the bargaining unit to join the union or organization. This is frequently known as a “closed shop” situation. Opponents of these agreements are trying to effectively prohibit them by amending two existing federal laws which currently protect both unions and employers. Many of our members have contacted the NAPO office expressing concern about the new proposed legislation. While there is cause for concern, it is important to note that these proposals, even if they passed Congress, would not directly impact state or local police officers or deputies.
NAPO has voiced our strong opposition to the National Right to Work Act (H.R. 785), which would repeal the provisions of the federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) that permit employers, pursuant to a union security agreement, to require employees to join a union as a condition of employment. It also would amend the federal Railway Labor Act to remove provisions allowing railroad carriers to require payroll deduction of union dues or fair share fees as a condition of employment.
These proposals would not directly impact our members because state and local governments are specifically excluded from the definition of covered “employers” under the NLRA and employees who work for an excluded employer are also explicitly excluded from coverage under the existing federal law. The National Right to Work Act would only affect those in industries covered by the NLRA or Railway Labor Act such as trades, construction, hotels, manufacturing, etc.
While neither the NLRA nor the Railway Labor Act cover state and local police officers or deputies, NAPO opposes this legislation because it represents a significant hit to labor and a curtailing of employees’ basic rights to bargain collectively for wages, hours and working conditions. More significantly for our members, if it passes, it could serve as a model for state right to work laws across the country which could directly impact our officers and deputies.
NAPO will keep our members updated on the status of the National Right to Work Act. This legislation has been introduced every Congress for over the past ten years and it has seen little movement. NAPO believes that this current version of the Act does not currently have traction despite having a Republican-controlled legislature and President, but we are prepared to fight any movement of the bill.
Please also see NAPO’s letter of opposition of February 3, 2017 for additional information.