West Virginia Joins Ranks of Right-to-Work States

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

February 18, 2016

On July 1, West Virginia will become the nation's 26th right-to-work state.

The state legislature on February 12 overrode the governor's veto of the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act, which will prohibit any requirement or employment agreement that an employee must be a member of a union or pay dues as a condition of employment.

The new law marks a significant victory for the right-to-work movement, as West Virginia has a relatively high proportion of union membership. About 12 percent of the workforce are union members, which makes West Virginia the 17th most unionized state in the nation.

The unions hope to turn the tide by making right-to-work an issue in the upcoming elections. "In the coming months, we will direct our energy and resources toward reminding West Virginia working families which legislators failed them, and urging them to vote accordingly - to remember in November," West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue said in a statement.

The other right-to-work states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.