"Right-to-work" constitutional question OK'd by House panel

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- House Republicans are advancing a proposed constitutional amendment to reinforce North Carolina laws prohibiting union membership and paying union dues as a requirement for employment.

A House judiciary committee Thursday narrowly approved a measure asking voters in November 2018 to decide whether similar prohibitions should be in the state Constitution.

GOP bill sponsor Rep. Justin Burr says constitutional language would further protect workers. Committee Democrats called a referendum unnecessary to affirm laws with little chance of being repealed. North Carolina is one of nearly 30 "right-to-work" states, with the laws on the books since 1947.

Burr says the state's "right-to-work" policy has contributed to a stronger economy but a state AFL-CIO official told the panel such laws contribute to driving down wages.

The bill's next stop is another House committee.