House Business and Labor hears testimony on right-to-work bill

HELENA -- Montana's House Business and Labor Committee heard passionate testimony Tuesday about a bill that would implement right-to-work policies across the Treasure State.

If passed, this bill would mean workers can no longer be required to join a union when they start a new job.

Supporters of the bill say it would promote freedom of labor in the state and increase wage growth. One proponent says this would bolster Montana's economic status relative to other neighboring states who have this provision in place.

"It is clear that right to work would help Montana's economic outlook," Randy Pope, a proponent of the bill said. "From 2009-2019, the percentage growth and number of people employed was 10.1 percent in Montana while western right-to-work states enjoyed employment growth of 21.1 percent, more than double ours."

Now opponents to the bill say that this will undermine the ability to negotiate for increased wages and better working conditions, and potentially open the door to unnecessary litigation while weakening local economies.

"I can't think of one example where right to work would improve our workforce," David Hoffman, an opponent to the bill said. "As a matter of fact, I think it would create division and resentment within it. For Northwestern Energy, this bill attempts to fix a problem that simply doesn't exist."

The committee is expected to decide whether the bill will go to the full House body for a vote soon.

HELENA -- Montana's House Business and Labor Committee heard passionate testimony Tuesday about a bill that would implement right-to-work policies across the Treasure State.

If passed, this bill would mean workers can no longer be required to join a union when they start a new job.

Supporters of the bill say it would promote freedom of labor in the state and increase wage growth. One proponent says this would bolster Montana's economic status relative to other neighboring states who have this provision in place.

"It is clear that right to work would help Montana's economic outlook," Randy Pope, a proponent of the bill said. "From 2009-2019, the percentage growth and number of people employed was 10.1 percent in Montana while western right-to-work states enjoyed employment growth of 21.1 percent, more than double ours."

Now opponents to the bill say that this will undermine the ability to negotiate for increased wages and better working conditions, and potentially open the door to unnecessary litigation while weakening local economies.

"I can't think of one example where right to work would improve our workforce," David Hoffman, an opponent to the bill said. "As a matter of fact, I think it would create division and resentment within it. For Northwestern Energy, this bill attempts to fix a problem that simply doesn't exist."

The committee is expected to decide whether the bill will go to the full House body for a vote as soon as tomorrow or later this week.

 

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