2016 Elections Are Opportunity to Reverse This Travesty
Last week, the West Virginia legislature voted to override Governor Tomblin’s veto to pass a “right to work” law. The state is now the 26th in the nation to enact such legislation, despite a lack of bipartisan support and public polls demonstrating widespread opposition to the bill.
“Every West Virginia State Legislator who supported passing this bill should be ashamed of themselves,” said Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400. “Bills like this bring lower wages, fewer benefits and more dangerous workplaces to every state where it is passed. This unfair law is nothing but a special-interest scam to lower the wages of workers so corporations can enjoy larger profits.”
Unlike many states, West Virginia only requires a simple majority to override a veto, so the GOP-led legislature was able to force the legislation through by a narrow margin. The override in the state Senate took place through a narrow, party-line 18-16 vote. Though several GOP lawmakers in the House broke with their party to uphold the governor’s veto, it was still overridden by a 54-43 margin. The legislation is set to take affect July 1, 2016.
Though supporters spread the myth that the bill will be a boon to economic development in West Virginia, which is among the lowest-wage states in the country, there is no evidence to suggest that’s the case— seven of the 10 states with the nation’s highest unemployment have “right to work” laws.. “The real goal behind Right to Work is to weaken unions, pure and simple,” explained Kenny Perdue, president of West Virginia AFL-CIO.
This anti-union bias was exposed in one legislator’s mind-bogglingly ignorant comment on the senate floor. “People who support right to work are out working, the free riders are right up there,” said Senator Karnes as he pointed to the union members in attendance.
The passage of “right to work” makes 2016 an even more important election year in a state where all 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up for re-election.
Local 400 members have already helped dozens of co-workers register to vote in an effort to encourage higher turnout in November. “We will continue to hold our elected leaders accountable to our members and voters,” vowed President Federici. “We will fight every single day to help hardworking people push beyond the limits of this legislation to find the better life that they deserve.”
Live in West Virginia? You can register to vote online through the Secretary of State’s website, or download a blank voter registration form to mail or deliver in-person.