Right to Work battle escalates between factions in West Virginia

Labor unions and politicians increase political pressure on voters ahead of 2016 elections
(PR NewsChannel) / June 30, 2016 / CHARLESTON, W.V. 

Seal_of_West_Virginia.svgEarlier this year conservative lawmakers passed a Right to Work law in the state legislature. The proposal was a point of major partisan contention in the “Mountain State,” with Republicans strongly in favor and Democrats vehemently opposing it.

Republicans were easily able to push the bill through the state legislature and then reverse a veto that was issued by Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.

Now Bill Cole, a Republican politician who is looking to succeed Gov. Tomblin, has doubled down on the importance of keeping the legislature in Republican control and ensuring Right to Work stays on the books.

“Hopefully, we can ride the (Republican) wave in 2016,” Cole said at a recent campaign stop in Wheeling. “This year will tell the tale of the state. If we lose control of this legislature and the executive branch, you can watch Right to Work and other reforms all get reversed.”

It’s a belief that’s held by prominent union leaders as well.

“He’s exactly right in that this is a pivotal year for Right to Work in West Virginia,” said Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in neighboring Ohio. “It’s incredibly important that voters recognize the power they have and take back control of their state and their future.”

Not to be outfought by state Republicans, labor unions are working hard to have the controversial law repealed. Arguing that Right to Work laws create stagnating wages and unsafe working conditions, the labor movement has vowed to fight until the end.

As a result, the AFL-CIO chapter of West Virginia and other union organizations will appeal directly to voters in the hope that they will remove conservative members of the state house from office.

In the past few months, pro-labor organizations and political action committees have spent roughly $1.4 million to go after leaders who support Right to Work legislation. According to state grassroots campaign reports, their outreach was extensive. The efforts involved countless TV, radio, direct mail and internet ads; not to mention a plethora of phone calls to constituents.

Labor leaders are hoping that their advocacy will make a difference with voters who will pressure their elected officials to repeal the Right to Work law.

“The labor movement suffered quite a blow in West Virginia,” said Dalton. “However, we are going to continue educating the public about how detrimental this law is to the economy. In virtually every state that Right to Work laws are enacted wages diminish and life gets harsher for hard working families. I have no doubt that voters will come to their senses and elect leaders who understand the importance of collective bargaining.”

For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org

Direct link:  https://prnewschannel.com/2016/06/30/right-to-work-battle-escalates-between-factions-in-west-virginia/

SOURCE:  Keep Ohio's Heritage

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