In a hearing today before the West Virginia Supreme Court, attorneys representing the West Virginia AFL-CIO, the West Virginia State Building Trades and several others argued that the justices should allow Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey the time she needs to rule on the unions’ lawsuit challenging the state’s so-called “Right to Work” law.
At issue before the state Supreme Court today was state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s request to overturn Judge Bailey’s preliminary injunction blocking enactment of the “Right to Work” law.
Citing the potential harm and uncertainty created by the 2016 law, Judge Bailey issued the temporary injunction while she considers her final ruling.
“It is our hope that the Supreme Court justices will allow the temporary injunction to remain in place so that Judge Bailey can take the time she needs to make a determination,” West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said.
On behalf of the unions, attorneys Robert Bastress and Vincent Trivelli argued that the state’s so-called “Right to Work” law violates provisions of the West Virginia Constitution that prohibit the taking of property from unions and their members without just compensation or due process.
“Our contention remains as strong as it was the day we filed this lawsuit in 2016 that this law is an unconstitutional taking of property rights from local unions and their members,” Sword said. “When a majority of employees in a workplace, through a democratic process, vote to unionize, federal law requires unions to provide services to all employees, whether or not they choose to participate in that union.
“This is nothing more than an attempt from out-of-state billionaires to destroy labor organizations in West Virginia,” Sword continued. “And quite frankly, I’m tired of these out-of-staters telling us what we can and can’t do.”