It’s was fast and furious at the West Virginia State Capitol today, as lawmakers debated two bills aimed at improving the Mountain State economy. 18 Republicans beat 16 Democrats in repealing the state’s Prevailing Wage. That law had the government decide wages on state construction jobs, instead of the marketplace. Supporters say repeal will help.
“As we bring this economy back and more and more building goes on, we’re going to have less workers to fill more jobs, and guess what? A free market will drive those wages up,” said State Sen. Bill Cole, (R) Senate President.
But many union members believe the results will be bad.
“I believe that out of state companies will be coming in with strangers and immigrants, filling our jobs,” said Michael Whitten, a union member.
On the House side, lawmakers were voting on whether or not West Virginia should be a “Right-to-Work state, means workers could not be forced to pay union dues if they did not want to. Critics say it undermines workers, while supporters say it will create jobs.
“I do know that we have lost large manufacturers to other states, because we are not a right-to-work state,” said Del. Terry Waxman, (R) Harrison.
“Lower wages, unsafe mines, unsafe working conditions everywhere. It’s really horrifying,” said Stacy Strawderman, ac union member.
The Senate has already approved making West Virginia a Right-to-Work state; and now the House has on a vote of 54 to 46.
“If there is one thing both sides agree upon, it’s that how lawmakers voted on Right-to-Work and Prevailing Wage, will be a big issue in campaign 2016,” said Mark Curtis 13 News Political Reporter.