The Delaware Department of Justice has politely informed the Republican Sussex County Council that it cannot enact a right-to-work for less ordinance proposed last month because it does not have the legal authority to do so.
Right-to-work laws prohibit employees from being required to join unions if they worked for a certain company or job. This thus starves unions of membership, funding and bargaining power, resulting in lower wages, benefits and worker’s rights for the employee. This has been proven in every of the 28 states that have decided to enact the anti-worker legislation.
State Solicitor Aaron R. Goldstein, on behalf of the Justice Department, said the following in its letter dated November 15.
“We write to express our respectful view that Sussex County Council is without legal authority to enact the Ordinance. Title 9 of the Delaware Code is devoid of any express or implied grant of authority to Sussex County to regulate labor organizations or otherwise affect the employee/employer relationship with respect to collective bargaining.”
“For more than 50 years, union security agreements requiring compulsory payment of union dues have been legal under federal and state law. Union security agreements exist to ensure that workers who opt not to join a union (yet still reap the benefits of collective bargaining) pay their so-called “fair share.” “Fair share” is a routine feature of collective bargaining across the United States and in the State of Delaware. The Ordinance seeks to legally prohibit these kinds of agreements and create individual legal causes of action designed to set aside these bedrock principles of American collective bargaining.”
“We appreciate that our form of government permits, at every level, the opportunity to test new ideas in the crucibles of the legislative and judicial branches. The Department of Labor did not request, and we have not offered, an opinion about the underlying merits of the proposed ordinance. This letter is for the purpose of indicating our legal opinion that Sussex County Council is without legal authority to enact the Ordinance. Under current state law, we believe that only the Delaware General Assembly has the authority to power to enact private or civil law concerning civil relationships in this context.”