I'm watching a lecture by Robert B Reich.

He's talking about a hypothetical case in which Bob, a CEO of some corporation, wants to "move the US plant to a non-union state" to reduce wages.

I understand that the benefit, for employers, is that since employees aren't organized in a union, they have less bargaining power over their employers.

My question is:

What are "non-union states"?

Are these states (in the US) that don't allow workers to unionize? But I've read that there's a "National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)" that guarantees the right of workers to unionize, so this can't be...

  • There are also places in the US where unions are more and less powerful, due to social differences more than legal ones. Nov 12, 2018 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


You may want to ask Reich what he personally was talking about. There is a distinction within the US between states which prohibit mandatory union membership versus allow mandatory union membership. In about half of the states, a union cannot force an employer to accept a contract which obligates that a person join the union. These are known as right-to-work laws. No state requires all workers to join a union, and no state forbids the formation of unions.

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