By March 12, 2015 Read More →

Lawmakers seek study on impact of right to work

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An economic impact study on right to work legislation has been requested by the leadership of the West Virginia Legislature.

Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead Wednesday announced they’ve asked the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research to study the economic impact of House Bill 2643, which establishes the West Virginia Right to Work Law, and Senate Bill 337, the Workplace Freedom Act. The bills were introduced this session, the Senate version by Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson.

“I am pleased that we have taken the initial first step to examine the economic impact that enacting right-to-work legislation would have on our economy and on job retention and creation in West Virginia,” Armstead, R-Kanawha, said. “We want to have as much information as possible in the hands of the legislators before we act on this legislation.”

The study is allowable under rules enacted in January on the opening day of the Legislature, Senate Rule 15b and House Rule 95c.

“These studies will be another valuable piece of the puzzle as we assess these pieces of legislation,” Cole, R-Mercer, said.

The results of the study may be available later this year, a release from Armstead and Cole said.

The study was requested on Friday, a news release said.

The bills prohibit requirements workers become or remain members of a labor organization as a condition of employment or pay dues or fees to a labor organization or contribute to a charity in lieu of paying dues or other fees to a labor organization.

Organized labor in West Virginia has opposed right to work legislation, calling it union busting. Worker rallies have been held at the statehouse in Charleston, the latest on Saturday.

Kenneth Perdue, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, Wednesday didn’t go so far as to say the legislation is dead, “but it’s highly unlikely a right to work bill would run,” he said. The session ends midnight Saturday.

“Nothing is dead until Saturday at midnight,” Perdue said.

Right to work is only one of the bills impacting workers in West Virginia this session, Perdue said. The Republican-controlled Legislature this session also amended the prevailing wage laws by changing how it is calculated.

Sen. David Nohe, R-Wood, said it appears the right to work legislation won’t pass this session.

“It is my understanding there is no intention of running right to work this session,” Nohe said.

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