House Bill 2720, which calls for a merit-based personnel system in the Department of Transportation (including the DOH), has advanced to the Senate after passing 86-14 in the House of Delegates.

The Legislature is in the 49th day of the 60-day session. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is “Crossover Day,” the deadline for bills passing in their house of origin.

While merit pay and hiring sounds good in theory, this union fears it will lead to more abuses than DOH employees currently see. We have several grievances pending over nonselection and favoritism matters, and those could continue under the cover of “merit” policies.

As an aside, the Level 3 hearing in the mass grievance against the DOH is scheduled for next Tuesday, April 6.

A roundup of bills we have been following:

  • Senate Bill 601, which hampers workers’ rights in the grievance process passed the Senate 18-15 on Saturday and is in the House Judiciary Committee.
  • HB 2009, which completely bans state agencies from collecting and forwarding elective dues deductions for unions and employee organizations, has passed and is awaiting the governor’s signature. We are now asking new members to pay the $20 monthly dues by check or credit/debit card; current members will have to switch in the near future.
  • House Bill 2011, which will eliminate 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 7: Limits political activity by public employees. That did not get out of a House committee in time.
  • 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.
  • SB 39: Prohibiting insurers (including PEIA) to require preauthorization for tests to stage cancer, effective July 1, 2022. The bill passed the Senate 33-0 but was not taken up in the house.
  • HB 2626, which would close Lakin, Withrow, and Hopemont hospitals, plus the Manchin Senior Care Center was not taken up by the House Finance Committee, and is dead for the session.

If you have questions or want us to track a certain bill, e-mail to [email protected].