The term “Right to Work,” which Republicans currently wave as as a banner to diminish unions and lower pay wages, was first used by French Socialist leader Louis Blanc in the mid-1800s and is considered one of the first sparks that lead to the French Revolution of 1848. If, however, there is any relation between the term used then, and the one used today it is tenuous at best.
The Britannica Concise Encyclopedia describes the law as such:
“In the U.S., any state law forbidding various union-security measures, particularly the union shop, under which workers are required to join a union within a specified time after they begin employment. Supporters of such laws maintain that they are more equitable because they allow a person to choose whether or not to join a labor union. Opponents contend that the name right-to-work law is misleading because such laws do not guarantee employment to anyone. On the contrary, they maintain that such laws tend to reduce workers’ job security by weakening the bargaining power of unions.”