CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Thursday’s public hearing on right to work — or the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act (SB 1) — produced little in the way of new thought from either side of the issue, but it produced about two dozen people who shared their views with members of the House Committee on the Judiciary.
The bill, which will prohibit an employer making union membership a condition of employment, passed the Senate last week on a 17-16 party line vote. Although it can be expected to have much the same trajectory in the House of Delegates, eight Republicans broke ranks with the party on a vote to repeal the state’s prevailing wage Wednesday, in a 55-44 vote, with one member not voting. Republicans control the House 64-36.
The two sides of the issue sparred over who benefits from the law, with GOP leadership saying right to work will bolster the state’s ailing economy by producing jobs and Democratic and union leaders decrying the bill as an assault on the state’s union workers.
Chris Hamilton from the state’s Business and Industry Council said he and his membership — more than 60 state businesses — support the right to work law.
“It gives workers in all fields the same freedoms as other professions; it extends a personal choice…