Neighboring West Virginia could, for all intents and purposes, become America’s 26th right-to-work state before the week is over.
The Workplace Freedom Act, which passed the state’s Senate by an 18-16 vote on Jan. 21, is scheduled on the House of Delegates’ calendar for a third reading tomorrow.
All of this comes on the heels of a 55-44 vote in the Mountain State’s House last week to repeal the state’s prevailing-wage mandates, which have been driving up the cost of state-funded construction projects for one year longer – 81 years, to be exact – than anti-labor freedom forces have controlled the House. (Does this sound familiar, Kentucky?)
That bill now goes to the Senate.
Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s expected vetoes of these bills won’t matter. The GOP has the votes to overturn them and they are expected to hang together to do so. (Does the need for this also sound familiar, Kentucky?)
In an email note yesterday to West Virginia delegates, Bluegrass Institute President Jim Waters testified to the impact that right-to-work has had on the economic growth and future prospects of Warren County, which in December 2014 became the nation’s first county to pass a local right-to-work ordinance. He wrote:
Please consider what Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon told the Bluegrass Institute’s annual President’s Dinner & Liberty Awards attendees about what’s happened since his fiscal court passed the right-to-work ordinance barely 13 months ago:
The county “now being considered for 89 new expansion or relocation projects, which represents nearly 10,000 new jobs and more than $1 billion in new investment,” but that, since passage of the local right-to-work ordinance, “the county has attracted more than $900 million in new capital investment just during the past calendar year – which represents the last 10 years combined for Warren County.”
If that kind of response can happen in one single Kentucky county, what do you think could happen in a state like West Virginia, where the Obama administration’s anti-coal policies have brought devastating economic consequences? Couldn’t your constituents use some new job opportunities in areas where they would be particularly suited such as in the manufacturing sector?
You have the opportunity to shake your collective fists at this failed administration which cares nothing about your people and future and do what the founders of this Republic and of our states intended: Tell the big-government, anti-freedom forces that would defend the status quo and hold back your people to “Pound Sand.”
Waters also noted the impact that having yet another of Kentucky’s neighboring states pass right-to-work could have on supporters’ efforts to bring such policy to our commonwealth:
Your courage in bringing right-to-work to your state will exert tremendous pressure beyond just your universe. It will give us added momentum here in Kentucky and to those right-to-work supporters in Ohio to do the right thing in those states, not to speak of the added competitive advantage that you will give yourself and your people.
I would remind that right-to-work isn’t only the right thing in terms of economic growth, but it’s even more important that you protect the individual – and constitutional – freedoms of the citizens as I’m assuming you placed your hand on a Bible and swore to do.
Think about it, we’ve had 25 states pass right-to-work without a single successful union challenge that resulted in stopping a statewide effort. Here in Kentucky, we’re so convinced that right-to-work is needed that we’ve been willing to risk a court challenge to pass these local ordinances. I would reiterate: You don’t even have to worry about that – as unions absolutely have no chance of stopping a statewide policy that’s clearly is allowed by federal labor law and successfully enacted by 25 other states.