Support Right to Work at the Ballot Box

The election is finally here, as voters go to the polls in Virginia to vote.  With all of the attention set on the presidential election (and for good reason), there is another important matter to decide at the ballot box this year.   Since 1947, Virginia has, by law, been a “right to work” state, which protects the right of Virginia’s workers to use their energy and talents to earn a living without being forced to pay union dues.

In recent years, the General Assembly has sought to enshrine this protection in Virginia’s Constitution to ensure that a future General Assembly can’t change the law.  It has now made its way onto this year’s ballot as Constitutional Amendment No. 1.  While the wording of the amendment has raised questions among some voters, it is critical to vote “Yes” on Tuesday when you go to cast your ballot.

Critics of the amendment claim its not needed because the law already ensures that Virginia is a right to work state.  But the law has consistently come under attack by Democrats in the General Assembly and other pro-union politicians in Richmond.  Look no further than Attorney General Mark Herring’s recent attempt to undermine the law in Virginia when he filed an amicus brief in support of California teachers unions to force teachers to pay union dues as a condition of their employment.  Forcing teachers to give money to their union, even if they disagree with it, violates the teachers’ freedom of speech and association. Following orders from out of state union bosses, Herring asked the Court to uphold the agency fees, even though the practice does not exist here in Virginia.  Evidently Mark Herring would prefer to keep open the possibility of forcing every Virginia teacher to contribute money to unions.

So why does enshrining the right to work law in Virginia’s Constitution matter?  The incomes of workers residing in the 25 right to work states are growing at a much faster rate than states that require compulsory dues.  For example, from 2005 to 2015, incomes in right to work states grew at a rate of 91% compared to only 72% percent in other states.  In less than a year since West Virginia passed the law, incomes have gone up nearly an entire percentage point.  Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that total employment has grown more than twice as fast in right to work states as compared to states that don’t have right to work protections on the books.

Our right to work law in Virginia is critical to growing the economy.  With the left’s recent attempt to undermine these important protections, it is imperative that we pass Constitutional Amendment No. 1 to protect the ability of Virginia’s workers to earn a living without being forced to pay union dues.  I hope you’ll join me in supporting right to work and vote “Yes” when you head to the ballot box today.