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Right to Work: Governor Signs Bills Limiting Union Activities

JACKSON, Miss.–Mississippi is a “right to work” state, meaning collective bargaining, or unions, do not have a say in whether or not you can work. Three bills signed Wednesday were expected to strengthen the state’s laws limiting union activity.

“I believe that Mississippi’s right-to-work status is a competitive benefit for the state, and I intend to keep it that way,” said Gov. Phil Bryant in a statement released after he signed the three Senate bills, which pro-union activists have decried as anti-worker.

“Mississippi has some of the lowest union participation in the country, and these bills send a message that we will not tolerate efforts like intimidation.”

Here is a summary of the bills from a press release from the governor’s camp:

Senate Bill 2473 prohibits an organization, corporation or individual from damaging or threatening to damage property or products and protects employees from being harassed into surrendering their rights in the midst of a unionization drive.

Senate Bill 2653 prevents organized picketing efforts from blocking building entrances and sidewalks and private residences during labor disputes.

Senate Bill 2797 makes clear that local governments do not have the authority to force employers to use organized labor to reach peace agreements or collective bargaining agreements.

On March 13, Gov. Bryant signed a fourth bill in the package. Senate Bill 2689 ensures that employers can continue to screen employment candidates for criminal backgrounds and prevents local jurisdictions from imposing ordinances to interfere with an employer’s ability to conduct such background checks.

A union push has been particularly evident with workers at Nissan’s Canton plant. Many of those workers have claimed there are “human rights” violations at the plant, and have been backed up by U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Bolton), actor Danny Glover and the NAACP.

Their claims center around what they say are anti-union meetings, where they say they have been told that if they unionize, Nissan will shut down the plant.

Nissan has denied the claims.

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