Photo By: 
Virginia AFL-cIO

Right to Work on the ballot in Virginia

A constitutional ammendement will make workplace freeloading impossible to remove

Brian Young's picture
Oct 13, 2016

On Election Day, voters across the country will be going to the polls to vote for the future of the country.  The decisions that many voters make across the country, will have a serious impact on the future of Unions.  Not only will the Presidential election choose who gets to pick the next Supreme Court Justice, thus deciding cases like Friedrichs, but voters in the states will have a choice as well. 

In Virginia, a state constitutional amendment is on the ballot.  This amendment would add Right to Work (for Less) into the state constitution.  While Virginia has been a Right to Work (for Less) state since 1947, it is simply law in the Commonwealth.  This means that to overturn it, it would simply have to pass the legislature and be signed by the Governor.  With Virginia becoming increasingly more liberal and with an increasing Union presence growing it would not be impractical that Right to Work (for Less) could be overturned.  By making it a constitutional amendment though, it would be nearly impossible to overturn it since the process would include having to pass the General Assembly twice and then be approved by the voters. 

In Missouri, the birthplace of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), voters won’t have a direct vote on Right to Work (for Less), but the issue has been talked about a lot on the trail.  As UCOMM previously reported, Right to Work (for Less) was only prevented from becoming law in Missouri after the Democratic and term limited Governor Jay Nixon vetoed it.  Now his Attorney General Chris Koster is running for Governor against Republican Eric Greitens.  Greitens has stated that he will sign the legislation.  As part of their effort to stop the legislation, the Missouri AFL-CIO has endorsed 15 Republicans for the State Assembly and Senate and is sending out over a 100,000 mailers to union households reminding them to vote. Each one of the Republicans has said that they will work to prevent anti-worker bills from being passed and will vote against them if they come to the floor.

For working people, Election Day will have serious consequences.  The future of organized labor in both Missouri and Virginia will hang in the balance.  Beyond the National race, these state elections will hold the future of tens of thousands of workers in their hands.

Sign up for our e-Newsletter!