Features, Labor News Briefs, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, National

W.Va. Supreme Court to Rule on Union-Shop Ban

January 15, 2020

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

CHARLESTON, W.Va.—The West Virginia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Jan. 15 on the state’s appeal of a lower-court decision striking down its 2016 law banning the union shop. The state AFL-CIO challenged the so-called “right-to-work” law’s constitutionality just before it went into effect, arguing that it was an unconstitutional “taking” of unions’ property because it would allow nonmembers to gain the benefits of union representation without paying agency fees. Last February, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey agreed, holding that the law “will require unions and union officials to work, to supply their valuable expertise, and to provide expensive services for nothing.” State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey appealed, arguing that the measure “recognizes employees’ important interests in not being forced to associate with a union in the form of paying compulsory agency fees.” The state Supreme Court issued an order in March allowing the law to remain in effect until it ruled on the case. Chief Justice Tim Armstead is recusing himself because he was the speaker of the House of Delegates when the bill passed. Cabell County Circuit Judge Gregory Howard, also a former Republican state legislator, will substitute. Read more

January 15, 2020

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