The 2021 session of the West Virginia Legislature is over, and not a minute too soon. This will affect unions such as UE Local 170 for months and years to come.

We did enjoy a moral victory here and there, particular with the failure of Senate Bill 601, which would have hampered workers’ rights in the grievance process. That passed the Senate but did not make it to the House floor in the final days of the Legislature session.

But we have still have work to do after the passage of HB 2009, which completely bans state agencies from collecting and forwarding elective dues deductions for unions and employee organizations.

The new law takes effect on June 17. We will be in touch in the coming weeks about our transition to direct forms of payment (cash, credit/debit, bank).

Another tough piece of legislation for our DOH and DMV members: House Bill 2720, which calls for a merit-based personnel system in the Department of Transportation (including the DOH and DMV) has been sent to the governor. This union fears it will lead to even more abuses in personnel than DOH employees currently see.

A roundup of bills we have been following:

  • SB 7, which limits political activity by public employees, was placed on the House’s inactive calendar on the session’s final day and therefore died.
  • 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 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 and is dead.
  • 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 therefore died.

If you have questions about another bill, e-mail to info@uelocal170.org.