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Texas Right to Work Laws

Statutes commonly known as "right-to-work" laws require labor unions to also allow the hiring of non-union employees. Generally speaking, these laws prohibit union status (whether someone is a union member or non-union) as a requirement for a job. Texas has such a law in its labor code, which prohibits any contract that requires membership (or non-membership) in a union.

The table and the background information below provide a closer look at Texas right to work laws and unions in general. See Union Member Rights FAQ for a general primer.

Code Section Labor Code §101.003, et seq.
Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc. No person shall be denied employment on account of membership or nonmembership in a labor union.
Prohibited Activity Any contract which requires membership or nonmembership; denial of right to work and bargain freely with employer, individually or collectively.
Penalties None

Texas Policies on Union Membership

Texas Labor Code specifically prohibits denying employment based on membership non membership in a union. This also means that an employer cannot require you to join a union after you have been hired for the job, or make you join a union as a condition of your employment.

Texas Right to Bargain

Additionally, the Texas Labor Code also prohibits a union or any organization from prohibiting individual employees and union members from bargaining with an employer individually. The law states "A person's inherent right to work and to bargain freely with the person's employer, individually or collectively, for terms of the person's employment may not be denied or infringed by law or by any organization."

What "Labor Union" Means

Right to work laws do not apply just to unions and union members, in Texas. The law broadens the definition of "labor union" to include any incorporated or unincorporated organization, group, union, lodge, local, branch, or part of a union, designed to improve working conditions, wages, or employment.

Right to Organize

As well as putting restrictions on prohibiting union membership requirements, the labor law also specifically allows for union membership. The relevant section of the law states that "All persons engaged in any kind of labor may associate and form trade unions and other organizations to protect themselves in their personal labor in their respective employment." As well, members of the union are allowed to influence others to enter or refuse employment, but not prohibit it. This means that even though an employer would hire a union member, there may be an enormous social pressure to not work with an empoloyer if the union does not approve of it.

Union laws and labor laws can be very complex, and change often. If you believe that you have been denied employment because you belong to a union, or if your employer forced you to join a union, you may want to speak with a Texas attorney who has experience in labor law. In addition to helping you navigate labor law requirements, the attorney may be able to help you recover damages you have suffered as a result of being forced to join a union, or losing a job because you are not a union member.

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