Ashton Marra Published

Kanawha County Judge Blocks Right-to-Work Law


A circuit judge blocked the implementation of a new right-to-work law in West Virginia Wednesday.

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey ordered the injunction during a hearing in her Charleston courtroom. The decision blocks West Virginia’s right-to-work law from taking effect until the court makes a final decision on its constitutionality.

The bill became law after legislators overturned Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s initial veto during the 2016 legislative session. 

Law in 25 other states, right-to-work provisions allow employees in union workplaces to opt out of paying dues. Unions, however, are required by federal law to represent all employees in a union workplace whether they pay dues or not.  

In the lawsuit, West Virginia union leaders allege the law is unconstitutional because non-due paying employees will still be represented in contract negotiations, employment disputes and other matters by union personnel, but without paying dues, other union members will have to pay more out of pocket to make up for the lost revenues that provide such services.

The AFLO-CIO and ten other unions filed the suit against the state of West Virginia earlier this year.

During the Wednesday hearing, Judge Bailey also ruled all 11 cases could be consolidated into one. The judge anticipates the case will be resolved within 90 days.