Richmond, VA – It’s a simple fact: for all Virginia workers, there is strength in numbers.
Right to work is and has always been designed to divide working people and weaken unions. Looking back at how right to work has disenfranchised the working class of Virginia since 1947 and knowing its disgraceful, historical origin, we hoped the state would move in the right direction on repeal this session. Yet, Delegate Lee Carter’s House Bill 153 was left in the House Appropriations Committee and not acted on before crossover so, the bill is done for the year. A curious fiscal impact statement of $9 – $25 million dollars was also attached to the bill. From a NY Mag article, “You might be wondering how the VEDP went about calculating those figures. As it happens, the primary basis for its estimate appears to be a poll taken of corporate executives and consultants who — in a shocking turn of events — said that they actually like it when states suppress the bargaining power of their workers.” Although we are disappointed, we are encouraged by the fact that a bill to repeal right to work was given a full hearing and passed 12-9 out of the Labor and Commerce Committee: two historic firsts. Also, we were simply overwhelmed by the number of grassroots organizations who spoke in support of the bill alongside labor. We’d like to thank Delegate Carter for again putting forth the bill and his relentless and passionate advocacy. We’d also like to thank those who signed on as co-patrons of the bill and voted for it in sub and full committee. And, of course, a huge acknowledgement to all the activists who mobilized in support of HB 153: those who wrote letters to the editor, contacted their legislators, testified for the bill, and lobbied legislators in Richmond. Check out this great editorial from the Roanoke Times: The Politics of Right to Work Are More Complicated Than They Appear The repeal of right to work may have been left on the table, but workers will not continue to be on the menu. We will build upon this and continue to work to finally overturn this injustice and finally gain our well-deserved seat at the table.