ALEC & Workers' Rights

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Access a PDF version of the fact sheet here.

ALEC's Legislative Agenda on Workers' Rights

At the American Legislative Exchange Council, corporate lobbyists and special interests vote as equals with elected officials on templates to change the law, behind closed doors with no press or members of the public allowed to see the votes or deliberations. ALEC attacks workers' rights by pushing bills that restrict collective bargaining rights, lower wages, destroys public pensions, silences workers' voices in the political process, and gives corporations legal protections against injured workers.

Restricting Workers' Right to Organize and Negotiate Contracts

  • ALEC's "Right to Work Act" is an attack on working families across the state as this bill takes away workers' ability to negotiate fair contracts. Because of this, a study by the Economic Policy Institute shows wages are 3.2 percent ($1,500) lower in so-called "right to work" states than in free bargaining states.[1]
  • ALEC's "Employee Rights Reform Act" limits revenue streams for public employee unions and imposes new reporting burdens on union activities. It is one of many anti-union ALEC bills that impose new burdens and makes sustaining a union more difficult.
  • ALEC's "Public Employee Freedom Act" weakens public sector unions by allowing the government to bypass the union and hire non-union employees, prohibits payroll deductions for union dues, and prohibits unions from negotiating contracts that require the union to negotiate on behalf of all works
  • ALEC's "Public Employer Payroll Deduction Policy Act" is an attack on all public workers and public unions as it is one of several ALEC models that prohibits the payroll deduction of membership dues by public employers.

Lowering Wages

  • ALEC's "Public Pay Equity Act" is way to lower or limit compensation for public employees by establishing an annual ceiling limiting public employee compensation to the same change as has occurring over the last year in the private sector.
  • ALEC's "Living Wage Mandate Preemption Act" allows states to prevent its cities and counties from setting minimum wages that exceed those required under state or federal law.
  • ALEC's "Prevailing Wage Repeal Act" repeals a state's prevailing wage requirements, which are designed to ensure quality works is done on public projects and helps keep wage standards in the construction industry.

Silencing Worker's Voices in the Political Process

Taking Away Pension Benefits

Siding With Corporations and Against Injured Workers

  • ALEC's "Noneconomic Damage Awards Act" limits noneconomic damages to only the time the plaintiff lived as opposed to the time he or she would have lived had the injury not occurred. Thus, it limits a corporation's liability for injuring or killing a worker even if a jury would have determined that a larger amount was warranted based on the particular facts of the case.
  • ALEC's "Resolution In Support Of Preserving Reasonable Limits on Wrongful Death Actions" attempts to stop efforts to allow a jury to fully compensate a victim's family for all damages in the death of their loved one caused by a corporation by limiting damages to prospective earnings and medical costs. In addition, the resolution attempts to prevent juries from compensating the family for emotional consequences of the loss of their parent, spouse, or child.


  1. Elise Gould and Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute, Average worker in ‘right-to-work’ state earns $1,500 less each year, organizational report, December 13, 2012.