Right to Work Driving the West Virginia Economic Recovery – Union Bosses Trying To Stop It
Right to Work
Helps West Virginia Rebound
Rising, Welfare Dependency Declining in Mountain State
Three years ago
this February, pro-Right to Work West Virginia legislators overrode Big Labor
Democrat Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto to make the Mountain State the 26th to
prohibit union officials from forcing employees to fork over a portion of their
paychecks to get or keep a job.
A few weeks
earlier, at the time of the Right to Work legislation’s original passage by the
state Senate, then-Senate President Bill Cole (R-Mercer) declared:
“I believe this is
a critical first step toward bringing about the kind of change in West Virginia
that is desperately needed to jump-start our economy.”
Salary and Wage
Income Growing Nearly Thrice As Fast as Inflation
evidence indicates Mr. Cole was correct to believe Right to Work would give his
state a boost.
As the Wall Street Journal
showed in an editorial this February 8, West Virginia’s formerly weak
economy is turning around.
During 2018’s first
three quarters, reported the editorial, salary and wage income in West Virginia
increased by 5.3% on an annualized basis.
That’s well above
the U.S. average and nearly triple America’s nationwide inflation rate of 1.9%,
as measured by the urban Consumer Price Index, last year.
added the Journal, have reduced the state’s chronically high levels of
— e.g. Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps — during the Obama
Administration grew 3.5 times faster than wages [in West Virginia]. Over the
last seven quarters, wages have grown 1.8 times faster than transfer receipts.
The state’s Medicaid rolls have shrunk 6% since December 2016.”
Committee Supporters Deserve Part of the Credit For West Virginia’s Success
economic growth West Virginia is now experiencing is typical for states where
Right to Work protections have recently been implemented,” said National Right
to Work Committee President Mark Mix.
“And Right to Work
members and supporters nationwide deserve part of the credit for these
protections now being on the books.”
In early 2016, Mr.
Mix recalled, the National Committee assisted with an email mobilization of
freedom-loving citizens that began soon after it was publicly announced that a
Senate committee would vote on legislation letting workers choose for
themselves whether to join and pay dues to a union.
The Right to Work
mobilization continued until Mr. Tomblin’s veto was overridden by the
Legislature roughly four weeks later. A total of 24,500 identified Right to
Work supporters were contacted during the campaign, many of them multiple
Right to Work
Attorneys Now Helping West Virginia Employees Vindicate Rights
from such mobilization efforts, Right to Work’s research arm, the National
Institute for Labor Relations Research, supplied elected officials,
journalists, policy organizations, and ordinary citizens with information
advancing the moral and economic case for forced-dues abolition.
Right after West
Virginia’s ban on forced union dues and fees was adopted, the Committee’s
sister organization, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, began
helping independent-minded employees exercise their freedom under the law.
free legal assistance enables independent-minded employees to fight back when
they face Big Labor retaliation.
For example, when
Tammy Hedrick, an employee of Adell Polymers in Petersburg, W.Va., resigned
from United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1017 after the Right to Work law was
adopted, USW union bosses sought to strip her of her seniority and her overtime
attorneys’ help, Ms. Hedrick filed an unfair labor practice charge against the
union with the National Labor Relations Board.
In January, she won
a settlement under which union bosses are required to refrain from seeking
demotions or other punishments against Ms. Hedrick and any other employees who
exercise their legally protected rights.
In addition to
pursuing enforcement cases, Foundation attorneys have filed briefs in support
of current Gov. James Justice (R) in a lawsuit filed by Big Labor lawyers
seeking to overturn the Right to Work statute in court.
“The example of
Tammy Hedrick shows that the battle for individual freedom is never completely
won, even after an important victory like passage of a state Right to Work
law,” said Mr. Mix, who heads the Foundation as well as the Committee.
outcome of Ms. Hedrick’s case should serve as a valuable reminder to West
Virginia workers that union bosses cannot legally retaliate against them for
exercising their right not to belong to or bankroll a union.”