Thursday, February 4, 2016

West Virginia lawmakers clear right to work in close vote

(AP) — The Republican-led Legislature has cleared a push to make West Virginia the 26th right-to-work state.

The House passed the bill opposed by unions Thursday by a 54-46 margin, with several Republicans voting no.

The Senate must approve the amended bill to send it to Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for a likely veto. The bill previously passed the Senate 17-16 along party lines.

Republicans have veto-proof majorities, and would likely override Tomblin's disapproval.

The bill prohibits companies from requiring employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Unions are still required to represent every worker.

Democrats said the bill undermines unions without clear benefit, and feared lower wages. Republicans said a new path is needed for the suffering state, and contended that the bill would drive in business.