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Delaware Right to Work Laws

People from the First State work hard. From our shipping and transportation industry to corporations and private enterprise, Delaware residents put in the work to make the country go. And while we generally don’t mind our bosses, the employer-employee relationship can get testy.

In some cases, we’ve turned to unions to act on behalf of workers when negotiating with management. A recent trend has seen many states passing laws that affect the way unions, employees, and employers work together. This is a brief summary of what are known as “right-to-work” laws in Delaware.

Right to Work Laws

Over the years an intricate system of rules, regulations, and laws has evolved to manage the many thorny issues that have arisen in the context of union contracts, including the protection of the rights of nonunion employees to work for unionized employers. These "right to work" laws generally forbid both unions and employers from denying a nonunion employee a job solely on account of his union status. Twenty-five states are currently "right-to-work" laws states. Twenty-five and the District of Columbia have no statutory provision, apparently allowing the union to bargain with the employer for the right to insist upon union membership as a condition for employment.

These statutes prohibit employers and unions from requiring union membership in order for employees to get and keep a job. To date, Delaware has no such laws on the books (as this table below illustrates).

Code Section No statutory provisions
Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc. -
Prohibited Activity -
Penalties -

Right-to-work laws control the relationship between employers, employees, and unions by preventing employers or unions from excluding non-union workers or requiring existing employees to join a union or pay union dues. As noted above, most right-to-work laws are relatively new and have been adopted, in some version, by about half the states.

Due to the recent nature of the trend and the legal entanglements of some right-to-work laws, studies have yet to determine the overall impact of the laws on union membership, wages, and collective bargaining agreements. While most business interests and chambers of commerce have lobbied heavily in favor of right-to-work laws, unions have universally opposed the measures.

Delaware Right to Work Laws: Related Resources

Even though Delaware doesn’t currently have a right-to-work statute on the books, that could always change. If you would like legal assistance with an employment or union matter, you can contact a Delaware labor attorney. You can also visit FindLaw’s Employee Rights Center for more articles and resources on this topic.

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