A circuit court in Kanawha County, West Virginia has leveled a stunning ruling against the state’s would be Right to Work law, delaying the implementation of the controversial legislation and giving pro-labor groups a much needed win.
Shortly after the law was passed, labor leaders vowed to stop it by any means necessary. As a result, the AFL-CIO of West Virginia filed to have an injunction placed on the law before it could be implemented. In such a conservative state, many doubted that the union leaders’ strategy would be successful.
To everyone’s shock, the union was granted an injunction last week.
“I am overjoyed with the decision that was reached last Wednesday afternoon,” said Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in neighboring Ohio. “Hard working families in West Virginia can rest easier knowing that Right to Work has been stopped for the moment in their state.”
Last year, Republicans in the state legislature in Charleston overwhelmingly voted to make West Virginia the 26th Right to Work state in the country, overriding a veto from Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
Right to Work legislation allows skilled workers to operate in a trade without having to pay dues to a labor union. Many believe that these laws lead to lower wages and decreased worker protections and rights, which ultimately hurts working families.
In the months leading up to last week’s injunction, pro-labor organizations and political action committees spent roughly $1.4 million dollars extensively going after politicians that support Right to Work legislation. Labor leaders did so in hopes that their advocacy would make a difference with voters who would then pressure their elected officials to repeal the controversial law.
Right to Work advocates concede that they have lost this battle; however, they still believe they can win the war. The decision that was handed down is not permanent and if significant legal issues with the law are revised, it could still be enacted into law at a later date. As a result, union leaders are keeping their guard up while preparing for the next round.
“We will celebrate for now but we always need to be prepared to weather the next wave of attacks from Right to Work leaders,” said Dalton. “We need to remain vigilant so that we can protect the rights of hard working American families.”
For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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