Threatening workers with death may not be the best message for West Virginia AFL-CIO bosses to broadcast, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Following the lead of the national AFL-CIO, the state union coalition is trying to block right-to-work — which lets workers opt out of paying unions — by calling the policy a deadly corporate plot.
Warning that right-to-work has “been shown to increase workplace injuries and deaths by as much as 54 percent,” a West Virginia AFL-CIO radio ad asks, “doesn’t that make it a ‘right to die on the job’ law?”
Republicans plan to introduce a right-to-work bill in the West Virginia Legislature in January, and think they have enough votes to override Democrat Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s likely veto. Polling shows most voters in the state support right-to-work.
Based on AFL-CIO’s own 2015 Death on the Job report, the fatal workplace injury rate in West Virginia is worse than in 24 of America’s 25 right-to-work states.
Right-to-work simply lets workers choose whether to pay unions. It doesn’t stop workers from unionizing, and it doesn’t stop unionized workers from negotiating over safety issues.