Right to Work Driving the West Virginia Economic Recovery – Union Bosses Trying To Stop It

Right to Work Helps West Virginia Rebound

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix: “The accelerated economic growth West Virginia is now experiencing is typical for states where Right to Work protections have recently been implemented.”

Incomes 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

Today mounting 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.

Higher incomes, added the Journal, have reduced the state’s chronically high levels of government dependence:

“Transfer receipts — 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.”

National Committee Supporters Deserve Part of the Credit For West Virginia’s Success

“The accelerated 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 times.

Right to Work Attorneys Now Helping West Virginia Employees Vindicate Rights

And independently 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.

The Foundation’s 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 pay.

With Foundation 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.

“Fortunately, the 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.”