by Michael Pierce, professor, University of Arkansas
*This is part of ACSblog's Symposium on Janus v. AFSCME
The Right-to-Work movement is hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court in the upcoming Janus v. AFSCME case will invalidate closed shop arrangements among public employee unions. If the Court does so, it will cripple public employee unions and give Right-to-Work the greatest triumph in its seventy-seven year history. Although Right-to-Work forces will hail victory as a triumph for individual workers, an examination of the origins of Right-to-Work suggests that closed shop laws were intended to maintain Jim Crow labor relations and prevent workers from challenging the prerogatives of racist plantation owners and industrialists.