Union Shop Law and Legal Definition

A union shop is a place of employment that requires that an employee join a union, usually 30 to 60 days after being hired. If you cease to be a member of the union, the company is required to fire you. Many states, either by legislation or by court decision, have banned the closed shop. Opponents of the closed shop argue that forcing unwilling workers to pay union dues is an infringement of their rights; that union membership is sometimes closed to certain workers or the initiation fee so high as to be an effective bar to membership; and that employers are deprived of the privilege of hiring competent workers or firing incompetent ones.

In 1947 the Taft-Hartley Labor Act declared the closed shop illegal and union shops were also prohibited unless authorized in a secret poll by a majority of the workers. The Taft-Hartley Act was later amended to allow union shops without a vote of the majority of the workers. Thereafter, a campaign was begun by business leaders in certain industries to have so-called right-to-work laws enacted at the state level. More than one third of the states passed such laws, the effect being to declare the union shop illegal.