Dubbed “The Workplace Freedom Act,” the bill, which recently passed the state Senate, is currently under consideration in the House of Delegates. Furthermore, despite an expected veto from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the GOP has maintained a veto-proof Senate majority that all but assures them the power to force the bill through.
Yet in spite of the seemingly dire situation, labor supporters are determined to beat the odds by doing what they do best… buckling down and getting to work.
“There’s never been a more important time for the labor groups in West Virginia to band together and fight,” says Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18, which represents all of Ohio and several districts in Kentucky. “Call your representatives, inform your neighbors, do whatever you can to get the word out about the dangers of this type of legislation. It’s vital that they do everything in their power to protect the middle class in their home state.”
Following a debate in the state’s House of Delegates Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) also spoke out against a bill that he believes “will do nothing to create jobs in West Virginia.”
“During my time as Governor of West Virginia, and now your Senator, I never had a single company tell me that it would relocate to our great state if only we would pass Right to Work legislation,” Sen. Manchin said in a statement. “During these tough economic times, we must focus on fighting for every job we have and every potential job we can create, rather than fighting over a divisive political issue being used to divide us, rather than unite us. I find it highly objectionable that people would attempt to play partisan politics with our jobs.”
Right to Work laws prohibit making union dues a condition of employment and were passed in 25 states. Opponents say such laws weaken workers’ rights and will lead to lower salaries, decreased benefits and inferior working conditions.
Last November, comments by prominent members of the GOP-controlled state legislature led many experts to believe a Right to Work bill would be introduced at the start of the year. Both West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead and Senate President Bill Cole expressed support for the controversial movement following an out-of-session hearing on the issue.
With the legislation taking center stage so close to home, labor groups in neighboring Ohio have remained on high alert for any further developments in their backyard.
“Unfortunately you can never afford to take it easy when going against Right to Work. We’re dedicated to fighting this movement and we’ll continue to stand up and speak out for Ohio’s middle class,” says Dalton.
For more information, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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