Friday, November 20, 2015

West Virginia union bosses panicking over right-to-work

By Jason Hart

West Virginia labor bosses aren’t thrilled about the prospect of a right-to-work law that would stop them from taking mandatory union dues.

To drive down public opinion on right-to-work — 60 percent of West Virginians support right-to-work, and only 23 percent oppose it — union leaders are telling voters the law would have terrible consequences.

State legislators are “seeking to diminish those rights of West Virginia’s working people,” West Virginia AFL-CIO president Kenny Perdue said Sunday.

Right-to-work bills like the one Republicans in the West Virginia Legislature are expected to submit in January give workers the ability to choose whether to pay unions. That’s all right-to-work does.

But the West Virginia AFL-CIO says right-to-work “is deeply controversial, confusing and would cost West Virginia families on average $5,000 a year.” To prove it, the labor coalition is using a graphic from the AFL-CIO’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Taking cues from its national parent, the West Virginia AFL-CIO is trying to convince West Virginians the freedom to choose whether to pay unions will make them poorer and more likely to die at work.

“Last week, big corporations got their pals in Charleston, W.Va., to introduce a controversial and unsafe ‘right to work’ bill,” AFL-CIO headquarters said when a right-to-work bill was filed during this year’s legislative session.

“This legislation will make it easier to cut wages and benefits, send jobs overseas and weaken health and safety protections at workplaces across the state,” AFL-CIO warned. AFL-CIO even suggested lawmakers wanted to send children back into the state’s coal mines.

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