The Republican lawmakers who supported the bills said the measures give workers the freedom to join a union or not. But that's not quite right. Workers are never required to join a union. They can, in states without right-to-work laws, be required to pay some dues to a union for representing them in negotiations with management.
That's because nonunion workers in that workplace benefit from a union-negotiated contract just like union members;
the union can also be required to represent nonunion workers in a workplace conflict. In right-to-work states, nonunion workers who don't pay dues but benefit from union representation are called "free riders." Free riders drain union treasuries of money, economists have found, while shrinking union membership by 5 to 10 percent.