Republican legislative leadership continues its push to establish “right-to-work zones” throughout the state.
Republicans originally proposed the idea in December and are now offering a bill that would allow the designation of areas where workers would not be forced to join a union as a condition of employment.
The legislation would only apply to businesses that employ at least 20 people and would also exempt qualified businesses in the zones from paying the gross-receipts tax for five years.
Lawmakers previously did not propose specific areas for right-to-work zones, and the bill leaves that decision to the Delaware Economic Development Office.
House Minority Leader Daniel Short (R-Seaford) says that’s a fairer option.
“You know, if we’re going to have consistency within the state I think this lends itself to be more acceptable to a lot of folks with regard to what might be the spots that could be used by leaving it in the hands of those people in the economic development office,” said Short
Many Democrats strongly oppose such legislation, saying it stifles union power and doesn’t promote economic growth.
Short says he understands the idea is not popular among the Democratic majority, but adds he feels it merits consideration.
“It is our job as representatives and folks elected by the public to not just criticize, but offer solutions and ideas,” said Short. “So this is just another idea that we think has some opportunity to be different than what’s been done before.”
Academic studies are inconclusive about “right-to-work” legislation’s effects on the economy.
The bill is currently being circulated for sponsorship.