CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that would make West Virginia the 25th state with a Right To Work law is finding more support at the State Capitol where Republicans are in charge for the first time in more than eight decades.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson, 04) is one of the sponsors of SB 337 which was introduced this week and is now pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We don’t believe that it should be required, in America, in a democracy, to force someone to associate with a particular entity just to have a job,” he said.

The bill would prohibit any requirement that a person become or remain a member of a labor organization as a condition of employment; prohibit a requirement that any dues or fees be paid to a labor organization and prohibit any requirement that a person contribute to a charity instead of paying dues or other fees to a labor organization.

Kenny Perdue, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, said workers are already free from forced union participation under existing law.

“What Right To Work is really about, it is not about the freedom in the workplace to belong or not to belong to the union,” he argued. “Me, I’m a strong believer that it’s corporations want(ing) to have total control over the unions. It is anti-union legislation.”

Carmichael and Perdue debated the issue on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline” which originated from the State Capitol where the 2015 Regular Legislative Session continues.

“What we’re trying to say here is that the employee should have the opportunity to either freely associate with this union and it not be a condition of a job,” Carmichael said.

“They already have that,” Perdue argued.

Carmichael asked, “Well then, why are you opposed to this position then?”

“The law is already there. The law already says that you don’t have to be a union member,” Perdue answered. “What Right To Work does is force the union that is in there, which the union is there because the majority of them voted, the employer has accepted that through NLRB election, but that person that comes in there can sit back and get the benefits of all that and not pay the union dues.”

Perdue called the Right To Work bill an “attack on unions.” “That is their agenda. It’s about taking control. It’s the U.S. Chamber that wants control of the workforce,” Perdue said.

“No,” Carmichael countered. “This is an attack on poverty and joblessness in West Virginia. We’re going to move this state forward and this a component of it.”

Monetary penalties are included in the proposed legislation.

The bill does contain exceptions for federal employers and employees, employers and employees covered by the federal Railway Labor Act, employers and employees on exclusive federal enclaves or where there would be another conflict with, or preempted by, federal law.

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Comments

  • Bessie

    While hurting union families by cutting paychecks in half while union companies still make big bucks...how is that really helpful

  • Bessie

    My husband is a union laborer on a pipeline in WV...The company told them if this Bill passes he will take a pay cut from 24.00hr down to 14.00hr. How is this fair to union workers and how is this helping WV families..
    Leave things as they are
    ..I hope our governor realizes what he's doing to WV and puts an end to this..NO to the right to work law we don't need or want it...you are punishing working men and women not the unions themselves

  • Bessie

    This bill cause union laborers to take HUGE pay cuts...how is that gonna help WV

  • TJW

    Wow, Jim. I hope that you feel better letting me know what I said and for whom I voted. Just fyi, I said that I didn't agree with the "conservative right" on this issue. Another fyi, I don't own a gun nor do I smoke. News flash for you..conservative people have opinions on several issues. My children appreciate that, especially since my husband's (their father's) pay will be reduced and all of the hard work he has performed and all of the time he has spent away from them at school for the extensive training will basically be for nothing. He could have stayed at his other job and made more money. Real nice example to show them that hard work pays off. Additionally, I know all about the ability to sue issue. We are not talking about the "unholy trinity of defenses" here. You take care and I hope nothing like this ever happens to you or your family.

  • Rod

    your an idiot that would create more work and government workers

  • Rod

    If you are considering the right to work bill then you should also include that all organizations that require you to pay due's to be a member and be involved should also be included. This would also include the NRA and the Chamber of Commerce and every other organization. It should be free membership and all benefits should be awarded by just signing up. I am a member of both the NRA and the Chamber of Commerce I do not agree with everything they stand for but I have enough concern that I belong to both organizations and I pay the dues as required. I have also been a member of a construction union for 22yrs we have to complete a 5yr program that is comparable to college courses and also will give you so many credits towards a degree. we also have to travel from one end of the state to the other to stay employed due to the nature of construction. this means we take time from are families and also adds cost to living but due to paying union dues my family is provided with health care that I earn by working so many hrs. per quarter that is negotiated by the union and the contractors.we do not have to rely on the government or any other entitlement for our families health care needs we work for them. I have the RIGHT to disassociate myself with either of these organization if I choose. It would be more beneficial for you to focus on getting the economy going and let the working class have more opportunity of employment and stay out of there association choice. Right to work creates one more entitlement which means you do not have to pay for the benefits you want to receive. our wages and benefits will be cut and there will be more dependency on the government.

  • Dean Dickens

    Just another attempt to prevent hard working people to work for less money and less benefits. Our leaders like Mitch Carmichael pretend like this is going to solve our problems in this state. They say that our children will not have to leave WV to get a good job. Look at children of the sixties that had to go to Ohio, Michigan, and other states to find a job. This was before all these "Right To Work" states.Look at the number of union workers we have now compared to a few decades ago. Look at the amount of money that the top one percent have today compared to the millionaires of the past. Wake-up and smell the money before it is too late. George Washington is the first person to say "a two-party system will not work". Boy was he right. We need town meetings to promote "We the People" and vote against people who are getting the big money from Special Interest groups. It would be so beneficial if merit had something to do with the politicians representing us and our needs!Our government was created to represent "We the People" and now it represents the real government, "Special Interest".

  • Don

    I have seen unions attack non union work places which have cost business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars just to stay in business I have seen legitimate licensed contractors be denied work contracts to allow union workers have a top priority when non union can do the same job at a lower cost I also have seen contracts go to people with bias due to political parties so the discrimination I have seen does justify the need for a right to work law

  • Jim

    Wrong.

    OK take a worker in WV. Say they are 55. They have worked all their lives as a cashier at Dollar General. They make 8 dollars and hour and have no benefits.

    At age 55 they have arthritis in their knees from standing on a concrete floor. They have a heart problem. Their medicine costs $600 a month.

    They get on disability. They do not make as much as they did working but they get Medicaid and get all their medicine covered.

    They can actually come out better economically than when they worked.

    The low work force participation rate is a direct result of low pay and no benefits in older workers.

  • Jim

    You said:

    "The unemployment rate is a very leading statistic because so many discouraged workers are not in the work force. West Virginia has the lowest labor force particpation rate in the country which is the percent of folks between 18 and 65 that are either working or looking for work. We are the only state that is losing population which generally reflects lack of job opportunities."

    I totally agree. But the reason for the things you mention is work does not pay in WV. It's makes more economic sense to go on disability and work under the table or sell pills than to work at the low paying jobs.

    Raise the pay on jobs and people will come back to the work force. Right to work will do nothing but LOWER pay.

  • Jim

    You said:

    "Typically, if you know me personally, I most identify with the "conservative right".

    If you voted the democrats in WV out and voted republican you voted for right to work.

    This and repealing prevailing wage and limiting workers to ability to sue when they are injured by their employers have been on their agenda for 20 years or more here in the state.

    Just be glad you will be ably to carry your guns and smoke in public. That will make up for the pay cut.

  • jymmy

    Anti Right to Work prevents regular people from earning a living by doing more for less money. Unions try to stop competition, and then start dictating how things are done. They funnel money to liberals, that in turn try to change capitalism into socialism. That is why I HATE unions, that is what they do, and continue to do at the detriment of this nation.

  • Honest Reply

    Running our state in the ground?? Have you been asleep for the last 80 years?

  • FungoJoe

    Kenny Perdue=Union Blowhard.
    Right to Work law helps workers. Why should a worker be forced to join a union to have a job?? Labor Union extortion is all it is.
    And what do the labor unions do with most of that money gained from the extra dues?? Donate it to the corrupt Democratic political machine. Lets peel back a few layers of this and see exactly what the labor unions are up to.

  • Gary K.

    Those state may have more jobs for simple fact. They don't pay taxes or the taxes are greatly reduced. Check out those states unemployment rolls. Wages are depressed.

  • Gary K.

    Work UNION!

  • Gary K.

    You mean like the serious hard drug problems our state experiences. The first thing they try to do is against workers and for the chamber of commerce. Of course abortion on the agenda. Repukes have no plan other than running the state in the ground. If so what is it. I know they have no pan. Same old crap.

  • Gary K.

    Yes the same coal companies that have raped the state of its resources and land. And the coal co. owners who deny having problems with their mines that kill WV miners. Yeh right! Right to work means poverty.

  • Gary K.

    My comment stands. There is nothing wrong with the statement.

  • Hillboy

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines labor force participation rate as: “all persons classified as employed or unemployed. Employed persons are persons aged 16 years or older, who work for an employer or are self-employed, and excludes people who work as volunteers and people engaged in self-service/homemaking. Unemployed persons are those jobless persons who are aged 16 year or older, were available for job in last four weeks, and had made specific efforts to find a job at any time during that period."

    Note there is no mention of a 65 year upper limit. The BLS does subtract out those elderly people living in care facilities. Otherwise, retired people count against a state's labor force participation rate. I don't know why they calculate it that way.

  • WhlgFeelin

    Did your crystal ball tell you that or did your Union president? I wouldn't believe either one.

  • WhlgFeelin

    Yep they are what made our great state #50 in most categories. Keep on preaching because you make a better argument against unions with every word you say.

  • i know him. Mitch

    Cheater. Ask his ex wife. Liar? I would say so

  • i know him. Mitch

    He cheats on his wife. Liar? I would say so

  • TJW

    Please say a prayer for my husband and my family. I apologize in advance for my long post. I try to stay out of political matters as I am not well-versed in civics and such. However, I'm college-educated so when I do have opinions, they are usually researched and educated to my highest ability. Typically, if you know me personally, I most identify with the "conservative right". However, there is one issue that I do not: The "Right to Work" law about to be presented to the WV Senate. Now, from the surface, "Right to Work" sounds great... everyone should have a chance to have a good job if they are willing to work. If you are not familiar with this bill (I'm still studying it as well), Senator Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, introduced a bill stating that WV is a forced union state and that no one should be forced to be in a union to have a job. This sounds fair as well. No one should be forced to do anything that he/she does not want to do. However, I can tell you a few things about what will happen if this bill passes. My husband is part of the Local 152 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union out of Morgantown. I know many of you might have preconceived notions about unions or its laborers and workers. I can tell you that my husband has worked *extremely* hard to go through this schooling at a great, personal loss to him and our family. He is highly-skilled, improving with each day, and at the top of his class. He joined this union willingly and out of interest and desire to make a better life for himself and his family. Better than the hand he was dealt. Becoming a part of this brotherhood has helped us tremendously. The benefits have been wonderful, he has learned so many things and has had so many new opportunities. The Union gave my husband credit for his military service as well. Now, with this "Right to Work" bill most likely going into the books as law, it will be taken away from him. From his family. Essentially, businesses will be able to hire workers that are unskilled, untrained, unsafe, and undocumented. My husband still has two years of his apprenticeship until he reaches journeyman status, and his pay will most likely be cut in half if he even has a job at all. The businesses will save the money (and please know, that I am not disrespecting Republicans, but they are known for helping businesses with tax cuts, etc. I still support many of the views expressed by the GOP.) and shoddy workmanship will prevail. The life that my husband has wanted for us is crumbling so that corporate greediness can continue. There is a huge possibility that we will have to leave the state for work. Leaving a state we have been dedicated and devoted to our whole lives. Leaving a state that we love. I cannot tell you how disheartening it is at even the notion of having to leave West Virginia. This law is not providing "freedom in the workplace" like stated, but putting chains on the workers who chose to be in this profession. Paying a few dues or having some contracts is not holding back anyone. Union activities have not "discouraged good wages"; they have only encouraged people to do more with their life. To have actual rights in the workplace. This "Right to Work" law is ultimately packing our bags and sending our tax dollars to another state and having us reduced back to the working poor. A place that my husband and I both have struggled to climb out of in our lives. In addition, the buildings and other projects will have inferior quality--nothing good for WV. And it's breaking our hearts. I don't have much influence in this matter, but I thank you all for your time.

  • grumpy ole' man

    Time for a general strike of all employees in WV before this Koch/Chamber supported legislature enslaves those West Virginians that do work hard, day in and day out!!!!!!!!!

    I may be retired, but I will picket any place to support those that are putting up with this nonsense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • grumpy ole' man

    Oh my, oh my!!!

    Have people ever heard of the Battle of Blair Mountain?

    Heard of or watched Matewan???

    Wow, I'm sure many deceased union coal miners are rolling over in their graves....

    Whats next, allowing companies to pay employees in scrip? company stores? serfdom? slavery?

  • Old inspector

    Most all of the Union jobs are gone ! And only 1/2 of the people in wv do not work ! Can they something more important and needed to address ?

  • Buckeye Willy

    Thanks Commenter, I'll sleep better tonight. I can see the hills of Kentucky from my treehouse and that's southern as you can git in this here state!

  • Concerned

    Well WhigFeelin, if this passes, you are about to find out just who and how much it is going to hurt.

  • Gaga GooGoo

    WV makes Kentucky look like a "think tank". Not sure what that says about either state but there's a heck of a lot more going on over there than over here.

  • Wirerowe

    Hillboy the labor force participation rate is for those folks a who are between 18 and 65. It is generally recognized by economists as a very good measure of the relative ability to create jobs in a state or in the country.

  • Hee Haw

    That's what I am looking for jobs everywhere at $6/hr and no benefits.

  • Commenter

    We'll accept you as long as you don't have that annoying northern Ohio accent, and one of those brash northern personalities.

  • Mel

    Sad but true.

  • Mel

    You want to make us look like Kentucky? That is your great aspiration for our state? Good grief!

  • Another Day At MetroNews

    Got to love Hoppy the, " King Of Deep Throat."

  • j hicks

    If you want RTW then add to it right to be a union person. Most RTW places has just a couple union spots and someone has to die or retire to get one of them. If RTW is so great for the state just put in that everyone has the right to join or not join a union and watch all those business bulk and start crying. RTW is just a Right to work for less with less benefits. Don't believe, just look up the facts on your computers.

  • Commenter

    We don't need this law, we need to stay the way we are, irrelevant, fat, and 50th.

  • Buckeye Willy

    As usual, a big to-do over nothing. But my goodness the Hopster is lookin' good. Nice suit Hoppy! I wish we had a version of Talkline in Ohio so we could closer track our crooks, er, politicians. I know far more about WV politics than I do my own state! Can I be a honorary Mountaineer? I won't drive in the left lane and I promise to find out what the heck ramp is. I've been to Snowshoe too.

  • Dave minor

    Carmichael is a liar. It's about breaking unions. To be honest it's about people free loading. They get union wages union benefits and the union has to protect them for free if the company does them wrong. I call that welfare. Amend the bill so non dues payers don't get all that for free. They have to pay for their own protection. See how many take it.

  • Better wise up

    The unions are what built this state. They are also the ones who brings everyone's wages up. Let right to work come here or let them do away with prevaing wage and you will all see pay cuts? Just look at the working poverty in the south? That's what it will be here you will work your whole life for pennies and make a meager existence while the rich and the corporation get fat? Just do the research people you will see.

  • Charles Hash

    Studies show right to work laws DO create a very small number of jobs, but at the cost of those jobs paying a living wage. A Right To Work state might hire 30 guys at 10$ an hour to do a job, whereas a state without RTW laws would hire 25 guys and pay them 15$ an hour. Studies further demonstrate that it's harmful to the economy and the community.

    Really, the only people who benefit from RTW laws are people who seek to skirt workplace reglulations such as OSHA, and pay their employees less money.

  • Hillboy

    The labor force participation rate is also a very misleading statistic. It is the percent of folks working who are older than 18—there is no upper limit. That is one of the reasons WV's participation rate is so low, because WV happens to have the 2nd highest percentage of people older than 65 in the US. Many of those people are not participating in the labor force because they are retired.

    I agree that we have our share of discouraged workers but that is not the only factor contributing to our low worker participation rate.

  • Gary Keiffer

    I believe right to work law should be voted upon by each county. This is what Kentucky is doing. All that I have seen corporations look for the right to work zone. Lets make it happen West Virginia. Good job Senator Carmichael.

  • hughesknight

    Jim in West Virginia if I do not vote for Union certification and the majority of the workers do. Do I have to pay dues or not? Is that different than it would be in a right to work state?

  • Honest Reply

    Olan hits the nail on the head again!!

    +100000

  • hughesknight

    the total amount of wages with or without prevailing wages is the same, without prevailing wages you would have the same amount of wages but taxpayers would get more projects for the same amount of taxes paid. Investment, skills, and value determine regional markets not demand. What has hurt jobs are globilization and technology. The difference today is not so much between unions and non unions for skilled jobs as it is between unskilled jobs for unions and no unions. The premium for unskilled jobs is not coming back.

  • Olan

    The unemployment rate is a very leading statistic because so many discouraged workers are not in the work force. West Virginia has the lowest labor force particpation rate in the country which is the percent of folks between 18 and 65 that are either working or looking for work. We are the only state that is losing population which generally reflects lack of job opportunities. If West Virginia leaders are not desperate for more jobs that are good paying then they are it paying attention. There are many large job creating projects that will not look at a state that is not right to work. I do not think we have the luxury to automatically exclude ourselves from these projects.

  • Jim

    I totally agree and NOT having right to work is the only reason WV is 49th in average income not 50th like MS

  • Jim

    Of course unions use their dues for political clout. That's the idea. There has to be something to counter the Chamber of Commerce and other big money corporate groups lobbying to reduce benefits and lower wages.

  • Jim

    Mtneer001

    You said:

    "States like NC, SC, and GA are getting more and more jobs, in part, because they are right to work states."

    I belive if you will look online you will see that NC and SC have an unemployment rate that is very close to WV, only less than 1 point higher. Georgia has over 7% unemployment 1 full point higher than WV.

    What stimulates jobs is demand. If you pass right to work and cut the prevailing wages consumers have less to spend. So less demand, less jobs.

    Our leaders need to raise wages so there will be enough money for consumers to spend to create markets for new businesses.

  • Jim

    WV 6% unemployment rate.

    WV lowest per capita income other than MS.

    I don't see how implementing a law that will further lower wages is going to bring economic prosperity.

    If we had a high unemployment rate I'd say try to get any jobs at any cost. But with fairly decent unemployment rate and a terrible average salary I think we need to avoid anything that moves us past MS and down to #1 lowest per capita.

  • Blueberry

    Prediction: Our grand children will one day reinvent unions,functional political parties, and demonize us for our lack of vision concerning the future.

  • WhlgFeelin

    lol +1

  • WhlgFeelin

    Not sure how this will hurt anyone....except a union crony's pocket

  • WhlgFeelin

    Said like a true strong arm tactic or proud Union member.

  • WhlgFeelin

    IF you truly have no shortage of applications then you should have nothing to fear.

  • grumpy ole' man

    +999999999999999999999999

  • Honest Reply

    So then I take it that you are a mouthpiece for a union and have no meaningful reply??

  • grumpy ole' man

    Either you are a mouthpiece for the chamber, or you truly don't grasp what is taking place.

  • grumpy ole' man

    This should be called, "The Right of the Wealthy to impoverish Workers Act of 2015!"

  • Honest Reply

    How are unions being "busted"? They aren't being outlawed. Every employee is still free to join. Now they might have to justify there existence is the only difference.

  • hammer

    sure companies want to move to right the work states so they can pay low wages and starve they workers

  • Stephanie

    They don't have to work at a union company. That is their right.

    Unions should not be busted. It isn't right.

  • Olan

    Truth.

  • Olan

    Stephanie if workers are given the chance to evaluate why so much of their dues is going to political activities that make their leaders power brokers and not to directly benefit the workers they might disagree with you.

  • Uncle Cecil

    The Toyota plant is non-union. Maybe that's why it has expanded.

  • Olan

    when someone doesn't have an argument they revert to either intimidation, labeling, or character assassination. Mitch does not seem the type to be intimidated. So I guess your argument for prohibiting that a minority in a certification election From having democratic rights is you label him a republican and assail his character. Weak argument, Michigan and Indiana heavily unionized states went right to work in recent years and they have hope where hope didn't exist. West Virginia needs to do the same.

  • Mike

    Mtneer001, I could not have said it better. Having worked in 3 right to work states, I have experienced an increase of jobs in all 3 states. Just another good extra incentive that WV needs.

  • Stephanie

    The Toyota plant has expanded, even without this law.

    We do not need this law. It will not create jobs, it will only hurt regular workers.

  • rick

    The non-union crew report was false...

  • Stephanie

    This is a bad bill for working people. This will not help us in West Virginia.

    Please do not pass this bill.

  • Stephanie

    Misinformation is what corporations are good at making people believe.

    As unions have declined, so has middle class wages. Sadly, the misled people of today's society, are believing the exact opposite.

  • Mike M

    After Hurricane Sandy, several southern states dispatched power crews to augment and assist with restoration of power to parts of the storm-stricken areas. I believe a convoy of these crews from Alabama or Georgia were turned away and sent back because they were non-union. Now that really made a lot of sense.

  • Mtneer001

    States like NC, SC, and GA are getting more and more jobs, in part, because they are right to work states.

    I'm not saying that more companies will relocate to WV, but it is an extra incentive.

    For example, Volvo and Mercedes Benz were both looking to relocate to right to work states this year. Volvo may be moving a plant to NC.

    I would love to see the Toyota plant expanded....

  • wvman75

    This is long overdue. Unions use the dues for mainly political purposes, even using them to support a left-wing agenda detrimental to the very workers who paid the dues. The coal industry is a prime example.

  • Honest Reply

    Why shouldn't the unions have to justify their dues to the employee?? If the employee see's the benefit I am sure that they will gladly pay or at least the majority will.

    I have worked in two places of which I was a member of a Union. In one case I would have gladly paid my dues. In the other, the union really made no sense and did no good for me. Employees should be free to choose and unions, just like a business, should have to justify the cost of their service.

  • Jim Hunt

    People are free now, an operator has to fill out an application to join our union, and we have no shortage of applicants.
    So, the implication that this is somehow forced unionism is just misinformation.

  • Jim Hunt

    Amen brother.....

    Organized labor should be applauded for it's role in workplace safety, good wages,retirement and good healthcare benefits... Not torn down by those who obviously don't understand the concept of sticking together. Remember this..."when your only concern is yourself, that's the only one looking out for your wellbeing ".

    I'm a proud member of IUOE local 132 (heavy equipment operators) with upwards of 3000 brothers and sisters. Just curious who's looking out for our non-union counterparts because its not this legislation, regardless of the spin they put on it, they are looking after the interests of big money. If if they succeed in breaking unions.....we will all go down together.... And it will be too late.

  • Tom, m.

    Worker safety would be compromised by this republican bill, and yeah they might get a few jobs here and most would be substandard pay and benefits. Again smoking mirrors by the do nothing party.

  • BOHICA

    What happened to Jack Logar, replacing Jack with Mike Queen is like comparing Bill Clinton to Nixon! If you get a job and unions are invoved you are expected to join..........

  • Dennis

    Not having a "Right to Work" law is the biggest hindrance to corporate profits in this State.

  • Jonus Grumby

    No problem with unions. They have served their purpose very well in the past. However people should be free to choose whether joining one is right for them. Being forced to join is contrary to the ideals of freedom and democracy.

  • rick

    I remember working on the Interstate Highways System in the 1960's along the Va border. We were union and they were not. Our prevailing wage was higher and we had newer vehicles in our lots and they had older ones. Coal companies who what to keep our workers in the 1890's have convinced us that unions are bad for business. Every advancement made to labor is because of organized labor. Sometimes it goes too far but seems to always even out. Business needs to be on equal terms with labor to make things work properly.