House floor next step for right to work bill

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House floor next step for right to work bill

By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

A bill that would make West Virginia a Right to Work state is on its way forward after passing the House Judiciary Committee Friday afternoon.

The 13-10 vote, with two absentees, will send the legislation to the full House of Delegates next week. The bill makes it illegal to require union connection to employment.

The vote wasn’t entirely a party line vote; Del. Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay) voted “no.” Many Democrat Delegates spoke out against the bill shortly before the vote was taken.

“It’s not needed. I think this is a solution in search of a problem,” said Del. Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D-Monongalia),” one of many Democrats who spoke out against Right to Work. “Despite everything we’ve heard that’s tried to twist things today, you don’t have to join a union under federal law or state law.”

Del. Larry Rowe (D-Kanawha) felt that Right to Work legislation opens employers up to frivolous lawsuits.

“This bill is a direct attack on contractors and folks who regularly employ union workers. Those folks are sitting ducks. They are in trouble,” Rowe said.

Del. Justin Marcum (D-Mingo) agreed, saying that the only industry that Right to Work would benefit would be the court system.

“It’s not going to bring jobs to the state of West Virginia other than for lawyers, prosecutors and judges,” he said. “They’re going to be flooded with frivolous complaints from somebody who didn’t get hired, somebody who didn’t get a job; somebody who’s mad at their employer.”

GOP legislators in favor of Right to Work contend that such legislation make West Virginia more attractive for businesses, in turn creating jobs. They also argue it prevents forcing an employee to join a union against his or her will.

Del. Tim Manchin (D-Marion) said the bill’s passing would do more harm than good.

“We’re going to do this and it will do nothing other than lower wages,” he said. “That’s not what the people of West Virginia want and it’s another blow to working families.”

On Friday, Sen. Joe Manchin released a statement condemning Right to Work legislation, calling the legislation “a partisan bill that will do nothing to create jobs in West Virginia.”

The bill previously passed in the state Senate, 18-16.