District 59 North Carolina state Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) has introduced a bill to make the state’s right-to-work laws part of the state Constitution.

House Bill 614, “Amend NC Constitution / Right to Work,” if passed by the legislature, would put a referendum on the ballot in 2024 to amend the NC Constitution to include the right-to-work laws.

North Carolina has been a right-to-work state since 1947, which means that workers in North Carolina have the right to choose whether or not they want to join and pay dues to a labor union.

In other states workers can be required to join a union as a condition of their employment.

Currently, 26 states have right-to-work laws and 10 of those states have right-to-work constitutional amendments.  In 2022, the voters in Tennessee approved a right-to-work constitutional amendment by a 70 percent margin.

Hardister, who is an announced candidate for North Carolina commissioner of labor, said in a press release, “Right-to-work laws empower workers by providing them with more choices over how they wish to spend their income. No one should be forced to join or pay dues to an organization. If a labor union does an effective job representing employees, then workers will join them voluntarily and support their cause.”

Hardister added, “The growth that we have seen in the private sector is a direct result of what we have done to keep taxes low, invest in education and minimize regulations.  Our right-to-work laws have played a role in this success by making our state more attractive for workforce development. This has resulted in more job opportunities and enhanced upward mobility for workers in our state.”

For the constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot, House Bill 614 would have to pass the House with a minimum of 72 votes and the Senate with a minimum of 30 votes.  The ballot referendum would then have to be passed by the voters of the state with a simple majority.