CHARLESTON – Senate Bill 1, the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act, passed the West Virginia Senate today, 17-16.
The bill would eliminate the requirement of an employee to be a member of a labor organization as a condition of employment. If the bill would be put into law, West Virginia would be the 26th right-to-work state in the United States.
“I believe this is a critical step toward bringing about the kind of change in West Virginia that is desperately needed to jump start our struggling economy,” Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, said. “For far too many years, the status quo has held our state back, and today is an important step in moving West Virginia forward.” The bill does not affect any existing collective bargaining agreements. If passed into law, it would be unlawful for a collective bargaining agreement to require a person to become a member of or to pay dues to a labor union. It would go into effect July 1, 2016.
"People have left this state because they've had to find employment," Senator Charles S. Trump IV, R-Morgan, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said. "I support this bill because I believe that over time this will increase employment opportunities in this state. It will lower unemployment. The people who have left this state have not done so because they chose to be away from their families. They left to find jobs."
The bill has been sent to the House of Delegates for further action.