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Union members rally against pro-business agenda

CHARLESTON — Union leaders rallied their members Wednesday at the West Virginia Cultural Center, criticizing the new leadership in the statehouse for its pro-business agenda that unions say will hurt state workers.

Among the 14 tandem bills in both chambers, Republicans are looking to pass a right to work law, repeal the state’s prevailing wage and establish charter schools.

 West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue said “right to work” is not an accurate description of what the law will do. Perdue said the law is an attempt to undermine unions by allowing non-union members at the same workplace. Those non-union members don’t pay dues, but get the benefits unions fight for, Perdue said.

“This legislation is often promoted as pro-business, when instead it restricts the options available to businesses, and infringes on voluntary negotiations between private employers and employees.”

Perdue said the proposed law is an attempt to take away choices of workers in the workplace. Further, he said, the Republican leadership has not proven a right to work law will increase the number of businesses here.

“(They) have not cited a single example that backs up their claim that companies won’t locate here because we’re a free bargaining state,” he said.

Prevailing wage is good for workers, but also good for businesses, said Steve White, West Virginia Building and Construction Trades Council director.

“A repeal of this would be disastrous, hurt local contractors, lead to wage cuts, fewer training opportunities, less people who have benefits and more accidents on the job. All for no savings of taxpayer funds…

 

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