Dear Jon: Could California become a ‘right to work' state?

California has 2.4 million union members, the most of any state

The ‘right to work' is a concept that people have the right to work for an employer and not be forced to join a union. Currently 19 states have 'right to work' laws and California is not one of them. Henry messaged me on social media and asked, "Dear Jon, what are the chances that California will become a right to work state?"

To the get the answer, I spoke to former California State University Monterey Bay and current Naval Post Graduate school instructor Dr. David Anderson, a well-known local political analyst.

Anderson says, California is not a 'right to work' state and you can thank the unions for that. "California is not a right to work state because the unions in California are strong. Right to work is a concerted effort to limit the political and economic power of unions. Particularly what 'right to work' folks call the coercive power of unions, which require people to unionize membership or payment to unions or whatever."

So could there be a change in the climate in California and could we become a right to work state? Anderson says, he doesn't think that will happen anytime soon.

"California is about 5 percent above the national norm for people who are members of unions in California. That's significant strength and I don't see the unions losing that kind of leverage politically anytime soon."

Never say never, though, says Anderson.

But for right now, if there's a union at your employer you'll have to join and pay whatever memberships fees and dues required.

If you have a question for me, you can email me at I'm also on Twitter "@DearJonKBrent" and Facebook, "JonKBrent KION."


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