February 1, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Charleston, WA – The West Virginia state Senate passed a so-called “right to work” bill on a 17-16 party line vote Jan. 21, setting the stage for a ban on union shops in the Mountain State.
Republican Senator Charles Trump said while he wasn’t certain the measure, the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act, would increase jobs by dispelling the notion that the state has an “inhospitable business climate,” he asked, “that you take us at our words, that we believe it will.” “This is not freedom for workers, it is a busting of workers’ protection,” Democrat Ron Miller responded, saying that the bill’s title reminded him of George Orwell’s line that “political language is designed to make lies sound truthful.” The measure is likely to pass the state House of Delegates, where Republicans have a 64-36 majority, easily. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has indicated he would veto it—but in West Virginia, vetoes can be overridden with a simple majority, and on Jan. 22, the state’s highest court ruled that Tomblin had to appoint a Republican to fill the vacant seat of a senator who had switched to the GOP after being elected as a Democrat. That would give the Republicans an 18-16 majority in the upper house. Read more