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West Virginia Right to Work Laws

Like the state motto says, “Mountaineers are always free,” and they’re also always working hard. Well-known for our coal production, but maybe less well-known for our booming biotech and chemical industries, West Virginia makes the country go. And while we may not all love our boss, we all want to be treated well and compensated fairly for the work that we do.

In some larger industries, employees have formed unions to advocate on their behalf when negotiating with management and some states have passed laws that regulate the relationship between unions, employees, and employers. Here is a quick introduction to “right-to-work” laws in West Virginia.

Right to Work Laws

Around half of all states have "right-to-work" laws, some of which have appeared in their state constitutions for decades while others have been written into their state codes recently. Basically, these laws prohibit unions and employers, from requiring employees to be union members (or pay membership dues) in order to obtain or retain a job. West Virginia currently has no right-to-work statute or constitutional provision.

Right to Work Statutes in West Virginia

There are some campaigns to create right-to-work laws in West Virginia, but thus far there is no right-to-work law currently on the books.

Code Section

No statutory provisions

Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc.

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Prohibited Activity

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Penalties

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How Right to Work Laws Work

Right-to-work statutes are intended to regulate the relationship between employers, employees, and unions by preventing employers or unions from requiring union membership as a prerequisite to hiring or as a condition of continued employment. Many right-to-work laws are relatively new, with many business interests and chambers of commerce lobbying heavily in favor of the laws and unions universally opposing the measures. Due to the recent nature of the trend of right-to-work laws, and the legal entanglements they face in some states, economic studies have yet to conclude the what effect, if any, the laws will have on union membership, wages, and collective bargaining agreements.

West Virginia Right to Work Laws: Related Resources

State employment and union regulations are constantly evolving. While West Virginia doesn’t currently have any right-to-work laws in place, that is subject to change. FindLaw’s Employee Rights Center can provide you with additional articles and resources on this topic. You can also consult with a West Virginia labor attorney if you would like legal help regarding an employment or union matter.

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