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

  • Blueberry

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

    • Mel

      Sad but true.

  • WhlgFeelin

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

  • grumpy ole' man

    +999999999999999999999999

  • hammer

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

    • grumpy ole' man

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • WhlgFeelin

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

      • Concerned

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

        • WhlgFeelin

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

    • 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.

      • Stephanie

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

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

        • 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.

          • 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.

  • 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.

    • Gary K.

      Work UNION!

  • 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....

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • Uncle Cecil

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

        • WhlgFeelin

          lol +1

        • Olan

          Truth.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Jim

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

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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?

        • WhlgFeelin

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

        • 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.