What some are calling “Right to Work” is a proposed law that sounds great, but in reality is deeply controversial, confusing and would cost West Virginia families on average $5,000 a year. This law has been pushed on our state government by out of state millionaires and billionaires who are trying to make more money off of our families. The rule would allow workers who choose not to participate in a union to benefit from union-company contract negotiations without ever having to pay a single penny for the collective bargaining services. Opponents like to say that this makes states more attractive to businesses, but of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates, 7 are “Right to Work” states.
Here are some reasons why “Right to Work” is Wrong for West Virginia:
- We are already free to work wherever we want and to join a union if we want. – The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue. Accordingly, current law says that no one in West Virginia can be required to join a union, and a fee for union representation is only required if both the employer and employees agree. (1)
- This proposal is political overreach at its worst! - The government shouldn’t interfere with agreements made between employers and employees.
- “Right to Work” makes workplaces less safe. - States like West Virginia are safer than states with “RTW”. “RTW” states have a 54.4% higher death rate. (2)
- “Right to Work” Makes our communities less safe too. - “Right to Work” makes it harder for Fire Fighters to negotiate for the equipment they need to put out fires and nurses to negotiate patient loads at Emergency Rooms. If Firefighters and Nurses can’t negotiate these things, it means they may not be prepared to protect us in an emergency.
- West Virginians don’t need a pay cut! - States like ours without “RTW” laws make on average $5,971 more per year and have better benefits. (3)
- “Right to Work” will put retiree pensions in jeopardy. - West Virginians who have worked hard all their lives should not have to worry that the company they work for will run away with the pensions they promised.
- “Right to Work” doesn’t create jobs. - 7 of the 10 highest unemployment rates in the country are in states with these misleading laws. (4)
Put simply, “Right to Work” is an attempt by out-of-state interests to move us to part-time positions, off-shore our jobs and reduce safety in the workplace.
Let’s focus together on creating jobs and bettering education in our communities, not giving in to political attacks by CEOs who only want more for themselves.
1 Pattern Makers League v. NLRB (1985)/CWA v. Beck (1988)
2 AFL-CIO, Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, April 2014, http://aflcio.org/content/download/126621/3464561/DOTJ2014.pdf
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment &Wages, Average Annual Pay for 2013, accessed 12/9/14
4 Bureau of Labor Statistics