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Republicans to Take Flak this Weekend over Labor Laws

July 13, 2007

As the West Virginia Republican party holds its summer conference Saturday in Huntington, workers and their families will be there to protest what they call an "anti-worker" agenda. Republican leaders are expected to pursue what they call "right to work" legislation, which makes it easier for workers to avoid union membership at organized workplaces. Supporters say it gives workers more freedom but Larry Matheney with the West Virginia AFL-CIO says "right to work" means "right to work for less money."

“If they can convince workers to not become members of organized labor, then they hold down the wages, they hold down the monies expended for materials and time necessary to make a safe workplace.”

He points toward statistics showing that the states with "right-to-work" laws have lower wages and higher rates of workplace accidents.

Matheney believes pursuing this legislation would be very divisive for the state and a better option would be for workers and business owners to work together to rebuild West Virginia's economy.

“We can continue to forge together and create an economic climate that has shared prosperity and rebuilds the middle class.”

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WV