CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Fewer West Virginians back right-to-work or open-shop laws compared with views nationally, according to new numbers from the MetroNews West Virginia Poll, but there remains widespread support for the concept in the Mountain State.
The question posed: “As you may or may not know, some states have passed right to work laws that say each worker has a right to hold a job in a company, no matter whether he joins a labor union or not. If you were to vote on such a law, would you vote for it or against it?”
In a national Gallup poll conducted in August 2014, 71 percent said they would support such a law, 22 percent were against it while 7 percent were undecided.
Respondents were asked to say where they aligned on an opinion scale between the following two questions: 1. “Mr. Smith says that no American should be required to join a private organization, like a labor union, against their will.” 2. “Mr. Jones says that all workers share in the gains won by the labor union, all workers should have to join and pay dues to give the union financial support.”
On the scale, 47 percent said they were much closer to Smith and 22 percent a little closer. For Jones, 14 percent said they were much closer and 11 percent were a little closer. Six percent were not sure.
In all, 61 percent of those questioned had at least heard of right to work or open shop laws, according to the poll numbers released on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
More than two dozen other states already have right to work laws. An effort to add West Virginia to that list stalled during the 2015 legislative session.
As proposed, the bill would have prohibited any requirement that a person become or remain a member of a labor organization as a condition of employment; prohibited a requirement that any dues or fees be paid to a labor organization and prohibited any requirement that a person contribute to a charity instead of paying dues or other fees to a labor organization.
The proposal would have allowed 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.
Next week, poll numbers dealing with Common Core education standards will be released.
The MetroNews West Virginia Poll from Repass Research and Strategic Consulting included a sampling of 402 likely West Virginia voters who were contacted and questioned between Aug. 19 and Aug. 30 via random digital dialing, landline phone, cell phone and opt-in Internet panel.
Created in January 1980, the West Virginia Poll is a non-partisan survey of public opinion. For the first time, MetroNews is partnering with Repass for the poll ahead of the 2016 primary and general elections.