Senate Bill 421, which authorizes Workforce West Virginia to hire up to 100 “at will” employees, passed the House of Delegates today (Friday) on a 69-29 vote.

The legislation could add manpower to a sometimes overtaxed department, but those new workers would not enjoy the civil-service protections that other workers, including those in UE Local 170, enjoy.

If the House passes the bill and it is identical to the version the Senate passed on March 8, it will go straight to the governor for his signature.

The Legislature is finishing the 52nd day of the 60-day session, and it has been difficult. We are tracking Senate Bill 601, which hampers workers’ rights in the grievance process, has passed the Senate and resides is in the House Judiciary Committee.

The most biggest damage we are suffering comes from HB 2009, which completely bans state agencies from collecting and forwarding elective dues deductions for unions and employee organizations.

The governor signed the bill, and that law takes effect June 17. We are already asking new members to join by other means (check, credit/debit card), and we will communicate the details of the transition for our existing members in the coming weeks.

Other bills we are watching:

  • HB 2720, which calls for a merit-based personnel system in the Department of Transportation has passed the House and is in the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
  • SB 7: Limiting political activity by public employees. The bill passed February 25, and was being taken up by the House Judiciary today (Friday).
  • House Bill 2011, which eliminates the 1,000-hour limit for part-time employees to be exempt from civil service protections, has been signed into law and is already in effect.
  • Senate Bill 272, which would create more opportunities for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors, has been signed into law and takes effect June 9.
  • SB 11: Declaring work stoppage or strike by public employees to be unlawful. That was passed into law without the governor’s signature and takes effect June 9.
  • HB 2626, which would close Lakin, Withrow, and Hopemont hospitals, died in the House Finance Committee.

We ask you as always: Contact your senator or delegate, and share your views on negative legislation. We need your help.

If you have questions or want us to track a certain bill, e-mail to info@uelocal170.org.