CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Friday afternoon that would make West Virginia a right to work state.
The Workplace Freedom Act was approved along party lines, 9-8.
The bill “prohibits any requirement that a person become or remain a member of a labor organization as a condition of employment.”
“In West Virginia, without this bill, people can be compelled against their will to become a member or pay dues to a union in order to keep their jobs,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Trump (R-Morgan) said Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.”
State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette testified before the committee before its vote Friday afternoon. He cautioned supporters not to become overly optimistic.
“We’re creating an assumption that if you pass this one little bill, that costs us nothing, we suddenly will miraculously change the economic face of this state. It’s not true,” Burdette said.
Supporters maintain more employers will consider West Virginia if it’s right to work. It’s time to reverse things, Trump said.
“This wonderful place–West Virginia–is last in the nation in labor force participation. It is at the bottom of per capita income, household income,” he said.
Burdette told the committee he doesn’t blame those who are trying to turn the state’s economy around but the right methods have to be used.
“There are a lot of people desperately hurting and they are trying to find a silver bullet. I work every day to encourage them, but I don’t want false encouragement,” he said.
The bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration.