Ready for a 26th right-to-work state?

posted at 9:21 pm on January 18, 2016 by Jason Hart

Less than a year after Wisconsin became the 25th right-to-work state, West Virginia’s on the verge of being number 26.

A right-to-work bill introduced Wednesday by West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole was voted out of committee Friday. Cole is running for governor and has made right-to-work his top priority for the state’s 60-day legislative session.

If Cole’s WV Workplace Freedom Act becomes law, West Virginians in unionized workplaces will no longer be forced to pay union “fair share” fees as a condition of employment.

Term-limited Democrat Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is expected to veto the proposal, but Republicans have a veto-proof majority in the House and hope for a veto-proof majority in the Senate once the West Virginia Supreme Court rules on an appointment to fill a vacant seat.

West Virginia’s 2014 elections were a Republican romp, flipping control of the House of Delegates for the first time since before World War II. With that in mind, a Democrat vote or two in favor of right-to-work isn’t out of the question.

To keep Democrats in line, unions bused several thousand protesters to the state Capitol Wednesday evening.

But the union workers chanting “right-to-work is wrong” at West Virginia legislators were protesting a caricature that bears no resemblance to reality.

Let’s compare…

UNION RHETORIC: Right-to-work kills wages, safety, and quality of life

REALITY: Right-to-work lets workers choose whether to pay unions

Now, I wouldn’t blame you for assuming I exaggerated the West Virginia AFL-CIO’s talking points — the unions couldn’t be making such crazy allegations about such a straightforward policy, could they?

They could, and they are. If you watch the video from Wednesday’s union rally embedded above, you’ll see those exact claims printed on protesters’ shirts.

The honest union position — “nonmembers should be forced to pay us” — isn’t a heartwarming slogan, so union officials rely on talking points Richard Trumka and the national AFL-CIO have used for years.

Even Trumka’s talking points are built around the assumption workers can’t be trusted to choose whether to support a union. Giving workers that choice is the sole purpose of right-to-work.

Think about it: if refusing to pay union fees reduced your wages, benefits, and safety, wouldn’t you correct this by paying union fees? With the answer to that simple question, every union argument against right-to-work falls flat.

Nonetheless, union officials have had success with Trumka’s rhetoric in some states (Missouri, for example). Look for them to stick with it as the West Virginia legislative session continues.

The West Virginia AFL-CIO has already run a radio ad warning right-to-work should be called “right to die on the job,” because according to union bosses you’re more likely to die if you aren’t forced to pay union bosses.

Think that ad represents the lowest West Virginia’s union bosses will go to defend their flow of forced dues? Don’t bet on it.


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All the GOPe shills here in panic mode. You don’t want hard working blue collar conservatives to know you’ve been making suckers out of them, huh? Well the ruse is up. They’ve figured it out now. Don’t worry, ¡Jeb! says he has better things to do anyway.

proverbs427 on January 18, 2016 at 11:58 PM

and you guys have been conned into believing the federal goverment is way too big, when it is much smaller than it was in its halcyon days.

everdiso on January 18, 2016 at 11:43 PM

There is much more to the “size of government” than just the number of people who work for it. For example, number of laws and regulations on the books, and the amount of money it spends/controls. But, I’d say we’re trending in the right direction in terms of number of federal employees. May the trend continue.

Mullaney on January 18, 2016 at 11:59 PM

and you guys have been conned into believing the federal goverment is way too big, when it is much smaller than it was in its halcyon days.

everdiso on January 18, 2016 at 11:43 PM

According to a December 30 report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), 2015 will earn the dubious distinction of being an all-time record-breaking year for the highest number of new federal regulations. When the report was issued just one day before the end of the year, the Federal Register — which contains government agency rules or proposed new rules and regulations — clocked in at a staggering 81,611 pages. Six of the seven years with the most regulations on record have been under President Obama, with the 2010 Federal Register holding the previous record at a massive 81,405 pages.

Contained in the Leviathan of this year’s Register are 3,378 final rules, regulations, and notices. According to CEI Vice President for Policy Clyde Crews, in addition to those final rules, there are another 2,334 proposed rules that are in various stages of deliberation. Additionally, President Obama has handed down 29 executive orders and 31 executive memoranda — altogether an astounding volume of regulatory madness to foist onto the citizenry.

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 19, 2016 at 12:02 AM

…obviously HA needed some extra clicks or the trolls wouldn’t have shown up…

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 19, 2016 at 12:03 AM

There is much more to the “size of government” than just the number of people who work for it. For example, number of laws and regulations on the books, and the amount of money it spends/controls. But, I’d say we’re trending in the right direction in terms of number of federal employees. May the trend continue.

Mullaney on January 18, 2016 at 11:59 PM

There is also the size of state and local governments required to keep up with Federal regulations.

Then there are “contract” employees. My brother has worked for a 3 letter agency (If I told you which one, I would have to kill you) in that agency’s buildings his entire career (25 years) and has never been on the Fed’s payroll.

animal02 on January 19, 2016 at 12:09 AM

All the GOPe shills here in panic mode. You don’t want hard working blue collar conservatives to know you’ve been making suckers out of them, huh? Well the ruse is up. They’ve figured it out now. Don’t worry, ¡Jeb! says he has better things to do anyway.

proverbs427 on January 18, 2016 at 11:58 PM

I am sure you will have something new to say (and repeat and repeat and repeat) tomorrow when you get the latest talking points memo from campaign headquarters.

animal02 on January 19, 2016 at 12:12 AM

If unions were so needed and helpful than they would not need to force people to pay dues, their results would speak for themselves.

I don’t see how that’s a valid argument. People tend to like to get something for nothing, in this case, a union-negotiated contract…same pay, benefits, hours-but don’t have to do anything for it or pay anything for it.

No, I don’t think anyone should have to join any organization they don’t want to. I’ve always felt that union members should only negotiate for themselves. Non-union members are on their own…who knows, maybe they can do better? That’s the point of a free-enterprise system.

As for Proverbs’ argument about the 1950s-not sure which is cause and effect. That is, was the economic situation great because of unions, or did unions thrive because of the positive economic situation? Hard to say.

But as I’ve pointed out here before, if you live in a neighborhood where many of your neighbors have high-paying union jobs and they lose those contracts and/or jobs, it will bite you in the rear. They probably won’t be able to maintain their mortgages and have to move elsewhere. Your property values will go down-poorer people will move in because the owners will take a loss and just want to get out. Crime and drugs will go up.

Same goes if local, state and federal employees in your neck of the woods get the axe.

And if you have a business or work at one, you’ll see fewer sales.

Be careful what you wish for. But with the economic situation the way it is, you will get what you want. These companies can no longer afford to pay what they’ve been paying. Oh, they have the money, but they have to focus on stock valuations. If not, the CEOs are out…that won’t happen without a fight. So they’ll do what we’ve been seeing-more layoffs, more plant closings, more plants going to cheap labor pools overseas, more illegal immigration, more H1B workers, more automation, deceptive/smaller packaging of products, watered-down/puffed up products, stock buy backs, lying about stock values, higher prices, and whatever else they can conjure up.

It’s all about the stocks. The shareholders control the CEOs’ ability to keep their salaries, perqs, and bonuses. If they lay off a few thousand workers, their stock values will go up. They want to make sure they aren’t left standing without a chair when the music stops playing.

I fail to see how that does us any good? It’s kind of like we’re cutting off our noses just to spite our faces. I don’t like many things about unions, but I have sense enough to know that their demise signals the end of the American worker being able to make a decent living at the same time.

The “system” as we know it is dying. There is no one culprit. It’s run its course.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 19, 2016 at 12:41 AM

Oh, yes, the Liberals are only “Pro Choice” when it comes to killing babies. At any other time, they want to take all choices away from the individual. They are pathetic.

Theophile on January 19, 2016 at 2:36 AM

How’re wages and benefits for the average worker in Right to Work states vs. non? Why don’t conservatives ever discuss that?

libfreeordie on January 19, 2016 at 5:15 AM

Oh yeah, because workers in RTW states earn less;

http://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-states-have-lower-wages/

libfreeordie on January 19, 2016 at 5:19 AM

My experience of unions has been pretty bad. They are usually dreadful for other workers. The last time we had big transport strikes here I lost a months salary. They aren’t even good for their members necessarily. Being paid over the odds for a job is not in anybodies long term interest. Also many of these so called benefits aren’t benefits at all. How is my getting a lower salary so some guy can mooch off his boyfriend’s job a benefit? Unions were great in the 19th century. Nowadays not so much.

Esperanza on January 19, 2016 at 6:05 AM

Sadly, the Republican Party despises the sort of people that mine coal for a living, or work at WalMart, or assemble cars, so destroying their best eans of negotiating a decent livelihood is at the top of their agenda.

I hate to say it, but West Virginia deserves this. Screw ’em.

urban elitist on January 18, 2016 at 9:52 PM

It wasn’t the Republican Party that killed coal mining. It is Obama, the Marxist EPA and the Democratic Party.

I guess you can spin it and say that the Left has saved the lives of tens of thousands of Americans by killing the coal industry in the West.

And then you can also take pride in the killing of hundreds of thousands of Asians who now get to mine for coal using communist China slave standards.

Reuben Hick on January 19, 2016 at 7:16 AM

Oh yeah, because workers in RTW states earn less;

I see you ignore, in true leftist manner, that a buck is worth more in the free states than the mandatory union states.

An auto worker at the Hyundai, Mercedes, Toyota, or Honda plants in Alabama makes a dollar that is worth more than his union serf brother in Michigan, and lives where the median home price is about $40,000 less.

F X Muldoon on January 19, 2016 at 7:18 AM

When was the last time you saw a skinny union leader or one suffering like the workers who support. They all look like they are living large. Hangin with the democrats. Wake up, unions, for all the good they did, are just huge Ponzi schemes for fat cat leaders and democrats. Do you blue collar workers want to pay blood money that funds baby killers?

crosshugger on January 19, 2016 at 8:32 AM

How’re wages and benefits for the average worker in Right to Work states vs. non? Why don’t conservatives ever discuss that?

libfreeordie on January 19, 2016 at 5:15 AM

I live in a RTW state. Back in college, I went to work for UPS part time. While I was in a non-union position, the management encouraged people in union jobs to join the union because if they didn’t, they would get no say in collective bargaining (plus, joining the union extended the life of your car’s tires).

I was paid 75 cents per hour less than the union workers but I did not have to pay dues, so it worked out.

The problem here, as with all liberal ideas, is that you must force people to comply. That runs contrary to any concept of freedom.

Occams Stubble on January 19, 2016 at 8:44 AM

I will put my Union bona fides against anyone here. I have done it all. From Union apprentice to union contractor. With non union businesses too. When Unions were great they were not the communist organizations at the national level they are now. There is no comparison. They are completely different organizations. The trolls here are the ones who destroyed unions. They want their feed bags back. Every hall has them and they all know who they are. They usually can’t get a job even out of the Union they are so bad.

My experience regarding non union workers is they are more than anything else fiercely independent and hate these trolls. They want the right to bat up a job more than anything else. Union members want the security of the hall for a job. Both have their place.

CW20 on January 19, 2016 at 8:58 AM

How’re wages and benefits for the average worker in Right to Work states vs. non? Why don’t conservatives ever discuss that?

libfreeordie on January 19, 2016 at 5:15 AM

So having totally bombed on the taxes question you try to shift to wages and benefits?

And of course you got bombed on that too. Go back to your mama.

itsspideyman on January 19, 2016 at 9:03 AM

Oh yeah, because workers in RTW states earn less;

http://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-states-have-lower-wages/

libfreeordie on January 19, 2016 at 5:19 AM

Weird you left out this part.

State characteristics Non-RTW RTW
Unemployment rate 9.1% 8.4%
Cost of living (PERI) 1.03 0.95
Cost of living (MERIC) 112.09 94.74
Cost of living (BEA RPP)103.09 94.64

HumpBot Salvation on January 19, 2016 at 9:04 AM

urban elitist on January 18, 2016 at 9:52 PM

If it’s such a great idea, why does it have to be mandatory?

Jeff Weimer on January 19, 2016 at 10:04 AM

I have sense enough to know that their demise signals the end of the American worker being able to make a decent living at the same time.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 19, 2016 at 12:41 AM

Bullcrap. Plenty of non-union workers make decent livings. And those union wages have done plenty to drive up costs for everything in the last few decades. (It’s called inflation.)

GWB on January 19, 2016 at 10:23 AM

When Unions were great they were not the communist organizations at the national level they are now.

CW20 on January 19, 2016 at 8:58 AM

Actually, they’ve always been communist-backed organizations. Many of the locals were not communists. But the agitators and organizers were always communist-supported. (You are generally correct in your comment.)

GWB on January 19, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Ever take a look at a chart showing how much productivity and profits have gone up over the last few decades (your hard work) compared to wages/salaries?

proverbs427 on January 18, 2016 at 10:19 PM

So what? Has it occurred to you that the rise of personal computers and global communications and data networks was an economic paradigm shift, to even a greater degree than the advent of automobiles and aircraft, probably the equal of the rise of print, possibly equal to the discovery of fire? And that we are still generations away from seeing its full effects?

And it shocks and offends you that some people made a killing by reading that paradigm shift and surfing it, while the vast majority just plodded through their lives as they always do?

Is your entire existence based in envy, or what?

And it only took 1 person in the household needing to work. Look at you now. What happened?

Feminism happened. Women demanded that every “couple” household be treated as 2 potential wage earners instead of 1, and the market responded. They effectively doubled the supply of labor at a stroke. And you’re surprised that demand dropped until 1 household=wages enough to support that household, only now “household” is defined as 2 workers instead of 1?

Supply and demand is like gravity, it’s always on, it doesn’t just work when you want it to and then stop when you don’t.

You let them sucker you into trickle down economics.

proverbs427 on January 18, 2016 at 10:30 PM

Remember Obama’s and Democrats’ reasons why we HAD TO bail out GM? Because if we didn’t, that failure would cascade throughout the economy? That’s trickle-down economic theory, right there. Leftists don’t mind believing in it as long as it supports their agenda, they’re just careful not to call it that unless they’re trying to paint a conservative as a tinfoil-hatter.

GrumpyOldFart on January 19, 2016 at 11:33 AM

Aren’t you miners really happy with what the union and its beneficiaries have done for your jobs. After all they used your union dues to put Obama in office. That has to make you happy. Most people are starting to see it and figure it out. Middle class income is falling and people jobs are disappearing. So you all should be really happy that your dues put Obama in office, after all you all got your raises, if you were able to hang on to a job.

pwb on January 19, 2016 at 12:28 PM

Why do the trolls want union employees to take home less money?

And the union officials to take home their hard earned money?

Deckard BR on January 19, 2016 at 12:59 PM

Oh yeah, because workers in RTW states earn less;

http://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-states-have-lower-wages/

libfreeordie on January 19, 2016 at 5:19 AM

Weird you left out this part.

State characteristics Non-RTW RTW
Unemployment rate 9.1% 8.4%
Cost of living (PERI) 1.03 0.95
Cost of living (MERIC) 112.09 94.74
Cost of living (BEA RPP)103.09 94.64

HumpBot Salvation on January 19, 2016 at 9:04 AM

So, libfree, if I understand this correctly, wages are 3.1% lower ($50,328 against the national average salary of $51,939, right?) in states where cost of living is 7-15% lower and who employ more people than union-shackled states.

Did I miss anything?

The Schaef on January 19, 2016 at 1:05 PM

Bullcrap. Plenty of non-union workers make decent livings. And those union wages have done plenty to drive up costs for everything in the last few decades. (It’s called inflation.)

GWB on January 19, 2016 at 10:23 AM

Inflation’s due to the Federal Reserve, Inc. printing more money than there is actual wealth to back it up.

At any rate, I really hope you make less so the stuff I buy won’t cost as much…just following your logic here.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 19, 2016 at 3:28 PM

So, libfree, if I understand this correctly, wages are 3.1% lower ($50,328 against the national average salary of $51,939, right?) in states where cost of living is 7-15% lower and who employ more people than union-shackled states.

Did I miss anything?

The Schaef on January 19, 2016 at 1:05 PM

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the RTW states also had more full time workers than non-RTW states and that non-RTW states had more advanced degree employees which drives up the avrg wage in non-RTW states.

HumpBot Salvation on January 19, 2016 at 3:39 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 19, 2016 at 12:41 AM

Having had the honor to work very closely organized labor in a number of positions, like any other organization, labor as a business refused to change with the times.

The 1950s were the halcyon days. But they existed because we had destroyed almost all the manufacturing capability of the world in WWII. And as the manufacturers cleaned up, the unions were able to get more because there was no alternative. But slowly the rest of the world got put back together and alternatives to the silliness that unions demanded crept up.

If unions had just been worried about wages and benefits, and not a bunch of other BS (which includes increasingly becoming a wing of the democrat party) they might have ridden it down better. But alas, they assumed that very high wages and benefits, along with featherbedding, and protection for incompetent employees, guaranteed employment and management payment for union political offices, would last forever.

Silly them. They became gluttons at the top, and more worried about their survival than their member’s survival. Then they killed the host – the steel mills, the airlines, a big chunk of the automakers, etc. The only place they could really survive was off the govt teat. That is slowly being wrested away as it should be. I listened to union officials say they knew they needed to change but they weren’t going back to the line. So they were going to make sure they got theirs. Reminds me a little bit how DC must be. WE know it’s going into the ditch, but I can get mine and then be set and safe.

The unions have no one but themselves to look to in explaining their demise.

Zomcon JEM on January 19, 2016 at 3:58 PM

Zomcon JEM on January 19, 2016 at 3:58 PM

I don’t disagree with what you said. However, within the last year between us and Canada (mostly us) we’ve lost over 200,000 jobs in the energy sector. There’s no link to unions there.

China’s economy is sucking wind. Has nothing to do with unions.

We owe almost $19 trillion in debt. Has nothing to do with unions.

Retailers are shutting down all over the place. Nothing to do with unions.

Part of what concerns me is that too many here are placated by focusing on the demise of the unions, though they’ve become more inconsequential over the years…and yet nothing has improved because of that.

There are obvious systemic problems with the various world economies, and there is massive theft being carried out by the various governments and their cronies. That’s what concerns me the most. What concerns me even more is how said PTB will react and come down on us when their Ponzi schemes ultimately fail. How those around me will react is more immediate concern.

CW20 on January 19, 2016 at 8:58 AM

True, but the Communists have taken over our national government, the media and academia, multiple think tanks, many, many political parties, many courts, the U.N, and a vast array of independent organizations…some were surely founded by the Communists from the start. By the looks of things, also not a few banks and corporations.

We as a society chose not to listen to Senator McCarthy, the John Birchers and some others. We still think that if just the right guy gets elected, then all will be well.

No. It won’t.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 19, 2016 at 4:15 PM

The union bosses support Obama 100% and the rank and file in WV know that Obama has taken away their ability to support their families. UMW is on a death spiral. If the voters go for the Right-to-work status – look out unions – you are all going to fall.

evie1949

I live in WV (I know there’s another guy around here who does, too) and I laugh when I drive around and STILL see UMWA for Obama bumper stickers on cars.

Kanga on January 19, 2016 at 8:07 PM

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