CHARLESTON – Kanawha Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Bailey said at a hearing earlier this week that she plans to issue a ruling in the right-to-work lawsuit filed by unions nearly two years ago before this summer.
Bailey plans to issue her ruling to determine the constitutionality of the state’s right-to-work law before June, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
The lawsuit was filed in June 2016 by West Virginia AFL-CIO and other unions alleging that the right-to-work law was unconstitutional.
The right-to work law was passed by the Legislature in 2016. In 2017, the Legislature passed another law that clarified some of the language and addressed issues that Bailey had previously raised in her previous ruling.
In September, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals issued a opinion that reversed Bailey’s injunction. It also ordered her to issue a ruling on final motions in the case.
The Supreme Court justices ruled on the issue 4-1, with Justice Robin Jean Davis disagreeing with the majority.
Justin Menis Ketchum had wrote that the unions failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits of their three constitutional claims and said that Bailey had abused her discretion in granting the preliminary injunction.
Davis said the unions acknowledged and embraced their duty of fair representation and neither shirked or denied their responsibilities to union and non-union members alike. She said the majority failed to recognize fatal deficiencies of Senate Bill 1, which demonstrated its blatant lack of appreciation for the sanctity of basic constitutional protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
The justices heard arguments related to West Virginia’s right to work law, also known as The West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act earlier in September. In 2016, the state Legislature became one of 28 states to enact a right to work law.
Morrisey’s office filed a legal challenge to a February 2017 injunction issued by Bailey. That followed a challenge of the law by state labor unions.
The unions argued union dues are necessary to allow unions to enter into collective bargaining for both member and nonmember employees.
The legislature passed the bill in February 2016 and then voted to override a veto by then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.