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Poll: Most West Virginians support right to work

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than 66 percent of West Virginia’s registered voters support the creation of a right to work law in West Virginia, according to a new poll from Mark Blankenship Enterprises conducted on behalf of Americans For Prosperity – West Virginia.

“It tells me people are ready for change,” said Wendy McCuskey, state director for AFP West Virginia, of the poll’s results. “People want jobs in West Virginia and I think right to work is the jobs bill.”

On Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” McCuskey said the poll showed three in five respondents backed the idea. In that poll, the support was highest among Independent voters, at 77 percent, followed by Republicans, at 70 percent, and Democrats, at 60 percent.

A total of 28 percent of voters said they opposed such a proposal.

A right to work law 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.

The proposal does allow for 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.

Critics of right to work bill have called it an “attack on unions” and argued current law already offers sufficient protections for workers who choose not to join unions.

According to MBE Enterprises, the following question was the first of several questions asked about Right To Work of 403 registered voters between Jan. 27 and Jan. 29:

Several states have what is known as a right to work law or open shop law which lets workers keep their job in a company regardless of whether or not he or she joins a labor union. Would you support or oppose passing a right to work law here in West Virginia?

McCuskey said they asked the question three different ways. “We wanted to make sure we got a good sample of explaining the issue, using the statement ‘right to work,’ and talking about what it is.”

Currently, 24 states have Right To Work laws. “They have the fastest growing economies,” said McCuskey. “West Virginia wants to be 25th. We want to grow. We want prosperity. We want more opportunity.”

She said the poll results should send a message to lawmakers. “It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing and this is a jobs bill,” McCuskey said.

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