CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments in the fall regarding the state's right-to-work law after Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a notice of appeal last month with the court.
In the notice of appeal, Morrisey argued. that the Kanawha Circuit Court erred when it concluded that Senate Bill 1, the right-to-work law known as the Workplace Freedom Act that was passed in 2016, infringes, violates or abrogates any of the rights secured by Article III of the West Virginia Constitution.
Morrisey also claims the circuit court erred by giving insufficient credence to the "comprehensive federal scheme regulating labor relations," according to the notice.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey issued a full decision in February on the case, two years after she had issued an injunction following an appeal of the law by labor unions.
Josh Sword, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO said Morrisey first asked for the stay to be extended.
"Judge Bailey granted a 30-day stay when she issued the ruling in our favor," Sword said in an interview with The West Virginia Record. "The attorney general went to the Supreme Court and asked for the stay to be extended, and they agreed to do so while the appeal plays out in the courts."
Sword said there's a schedule that's out that lists when briefs are due and that there may be oral arguments in the fall.
"We're not surprised at all that the attorney general appealed Judge Bailey's decision," Sword said. "We fully expected that from the beginning."
Sword said the AFL-CIO still feels very strongly about its argument.
"As Judge Bailey noted so clearly in her ruling, this violates our state's Constitution in three areas: the right of association, the illegal taking and our liberties that are protected under our Constitution," Sword said. "Essentially meaning that no one should be required to do something for nothing. That's what right to work does."
Morrisey noted in the appeal that Justice Tim Armstead should recuse himself, as he was speaker of the House of Delegates when Senate Bill 1 was enacted by the Legislature. Armstead previously removed himself from considering Morrisey's request for a stay.
"Petitioners bring this appeal in order to vindicate the constitutional status of the act, and respectfully request that this court reverse the ... erroneous grant of summary judgment and ... dissolve permanent injunction precluding enforcement and implementation of the Workplace Freedom Act," the notice of appeal states.
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Case No.19-0298