There are many, many SV companies with large offices in parts of the world with very strong workers rights. I work in one of these. There is no problem, other then I'm not expected to work weekends and be on-call at unreasonable hours. If this is required I would need to be compensated for it.
Secondly; perhaps I am reading into this, but I get the sense you are implying that "less work" will be done due to these protections. You may be surprised to find out that German factories are actually quite efficient ;) , and that treating workers well gets them to work more, not less. Having a healthcare system that means you can bring your children to A&E at the weekend and not get caught for $1000s means you can come to work on Monday with a clear head.
Having protection from "right to work" means you can voice an opposing opinion without fear.
Having a paid holiday means you can come back to work refreshed with a clear mind, and not "burn out" as fast.
Having maternity, and paternity leave, means happier parents (like, in a abstract way, not like in a oh I haven't slept in 8 months I'm soooo happy way). Let's call it out here. Giving children a good start in life sets them up for success.
On a global team you can quite clearly see the results of the different work environments, and the various impacts each environment has. From a tech point of view, I see this most critically in the ability to voice controversial opinions, or push back against your manager for example.
I assume you mean "at-will employment"?
Right-to-work laws, in the US, are laws saying that employees cannot be forced to join a union as a prerequisite to employment.
At-will employment laws, again in the US, are laws saying that employees can be terminated for any or no reason, except for a list of specific reasons like race, sex, age, religion, and probably a few others. Unless there's some kind of employment contract, which the majority of jobs in the US don't have.
I was told about a support call with a US university a few years ago and the director fired the sys admin in the middle of the conference call. It was in the EMEA time zone (like 4am central). Everyone heard about it because that sort of thing just wouldn't be done here.
The guy had done nothing wrong, he had been up all night trying to fix the problem, and the director came on the call and lost it.
I always think in that environment so much of your energy must be spent on ass coverage and politics over working.
It is entirely about labor law ("Watching a SV company suddenly have to deal with German workers' rights"), not about whether the bread roll should be called "Weckle" or "Schrippe".
An American Manger in BT NI manged to cause some major problems by not being sensitive to the special employment laws in Northern Ireland.
Also IMARSAT had a spectacular car crash of a court case in the UK when some one blindly imported US style HR
"Look he made it work in Germany with their "strict" workers rights. It can't be so bad"
Also going to Germany, right in the face of the traditional car industry is a great show off too.
German labor institutions are strategically oriented towards collaboration (much like in the US), they are extremely centralized and anti-democratic and if you're in the workers' council and you're a member of the supervisory board, socio-economically you belong to the upper class. This facilitates the same corporate conspiracies as everywhere else.
Furthermore, East-Germany's labor market as a whole is much more like Eastern European labor markets. It is super-exploited. However, it is right in Western Europe where you've got access to decent infrastructure and massive subsidies.