Right-to-work refers to a law or a state that reduces the influence of labor union and their aggressive tactics in the workplace. Employees are given the choice to either join a union or not, to pay dues or not, and not have union membership be a condition on employment. In states with strong labor union dominance, workers are forced to join unions as a condition of employment and typically have unions dues automatically deducted from paychecks. So, right-to-work means the employee has the right-to-work for a company without being compelled to join a union and pay their fees.
States with right-to-work laws are typically more conservative and do not have a major labor union footprint. These laws are usually enacted when labor unions force states, cities, or business into bankruptcy by demanding more while sacrificing less, leaving states little choice but to push back. In these states, businesses are more free to hire and fire employees without interference, promote based on skill and contribution rather than simply on "length of service." Right-to-work laws promote a relationship between employees and employers that is fully voluntary and mutually beneficial between both parties. Merit and performance are often bigger factors in right-to-work states.