A state that has a law prohibiting union security agreements is a so-called “Right to Work” state. In these states, employees in unionized workplaces cannot negotiate employment contracts which require that all benefitting members contribute to the costs of the representation in negotiation. This means that an employee does not need to join a union and pay union dues to work for a company. The Taft-Hartley Act, enacted in 1947, outlawed closed shop laws, which allowed states to pass right to work laws. As of 2020, there are 28 right to work states, mostly in the Midwest, South, and Mountain West.
[Last updated in December of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]