The West Virginia House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Friday that would make West Virginia a right-to-work state.
The committee began debating Senate Bill 1 Friday morning and continued the discussion into the afternoon lasting more than 6 hours.
Essentially, the bill would make it illegal to fire a person who refuses to join a union or refuses to pay union dues or fees. Supporters say it protects the rights of workers who disagree with unions politically.
Those who oppose it say if non-union employees in union workplaces no longer pay the fees unions collect to negotiate contracts, they’ll struggle to provide those services.
Both sides have argued their points loudly this legislative session, but House Speaker Tim Armstead said that with one of the lowest workforce participation rates of any state in the nation, it’s time for West Virginia to try something new.
“What we’re doing hasn’t worked and there’s no question it hasn’t worked,” Armstead said, “and this is one of many creative solutions that we have learned from talking to those who look to employ West Virginians as part of that package of solutions that can really help to put our people back to work.”
The bill, which has already been approved by the Senate, now heads back to the full House for a vote.