The West Virginia Legislature -- under Republican management for the first time in 82 years -- passed Right To Work legislation today, which the Democratic governor likely will veto and likely lead the Legislature to override his veto. If so, West Virginia will be the 26th state to have Right To Work -- a right to a job without having to pay a kickback to the union trolls. The unions say they offer protection. So does the mafia. And unlike every liberal lackey who defends unions as "labor," and credits them for every law ever passed, I actually worked in a factory where we were forced to join the union.
(By the way, the United Mine Workers opposed black lung, back when Tony Boyle had Jock Yablonski killed when he ran against Boyle for the union presidency. Only Jimmy Hoffa's Teamsters were more corrupt.)
How much damage did Democrats do? West Virginia pays unemployment benefits to striking workers. That is amazingly stupid.
Republican House Speaker Tim Armstead allowed a four-hour debate on the bill -- about three hours and 59 minutes more than Democrats have been known to allow on hotly contested bills.
From the Washington Post:
Proponents of the bill argued that with the state’s economy in terrible condition, posting some of the worst poverty and unemployment rates in the country, West Virginia ought to follow its neighbors in adopting a policy that large employers sometimes see as a virtue when shopping for new locations. They cited a study commissioned by the Republican legislature from an economist at West Virginia University that found adopting a right-to-work law could reduce union membership in the state by one-fifth, and boost the state’s employment by 0.4 percent.
"It’s not a silver bullet. It’s a piece of the puzzle, perhaps,” said Republican Del. Lynwood Ireland, who spoke sadly of the decline of the state’s chemical industry. “Quite frankly, as I try to figure out whether I’m going to punch red or green, I’m going to punch green, I come to that conclusion on the basis that doing nothing, the status quo, is unacceptable, even if we fail.
The bill had also been promoted by the national group Americans for Prosperity, funded by conservative mega-funders Charles and David Koch, which set up a West Virginia chapter in 2013 with right-to-work at the top of its agenda. The group aired TV ads, sent out paper mailers, knocked on doors, and coordinated phone calls to legislators in support of the bill.
Ah yes, you cannot be a Social Justice Warrior in reporter drag without mentioning the Koch Brothers, as if West Virginians are a bunch of meatheads who blindly follow outside agitators. (The reporter is an ex-New Republic staffer; I rest my case.)
The move comes too late to save the steel industry or the chemical industry in West Virginia. But it may keep the aluminum rolling in Ravenswood, and the engines and transmissions flowing at the Toyota plant down the road from Poca (OK, 20 miles down the road).
And it does give the state hope.
Baby boomers failed the state, just as their parents failed. But this new generation -- including my delegates, Scott Cadle and Michael Ihle, as well as my state senators, Chris Walters and Ed Gaunch (OK, Cadle and Gaunch are my age) -- got it done. And I thank them.
Oh, and I also thank Barack Obama for fundamentally transforming West Virginia into a Republican state again.