Montana Public Radio

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

'Right-To-Work' Bill Draws Lengthy Public Testimony

Feb 17, 2021

A bill that would prohibit forced private union membership as a job condition in Montana drew lengthy public testimony Tuesday. Republican Rep. Caleb Hinkle of Belgrade told lawmakers his adamant support for "right-to-work" legislation comes from his time working at a unionized grocery store in 2013.

Hinkle said he had to pay a $500 union initiation fee or leave his job, which led him to seek work elsewhere and endure what he called the most difficult financial situation of his life. He says other employees shouldn’t have to make a similar decision.

A national study from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show the percentage of minimum wage workers in Montana shrinking at the fastest rate in the country. That figure may be of particular note today, the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act—a law signed by President Franklin Roosevelt which created the minimum wage.

However, the figures gathered by BLS need to be taken in context.