I’m sorry, did Terry McAuliffe just reveal that if he’s elected governor, Virginia might no longer be a right-to-work state?
“Listen, I’m not going to answer specifics on projects,” he said in response to a question about what is known as a project labor agreement. “You clearly don’t talk about specifics on future projects until you even know what the projects are and what the bidding process will be.”
McAuliffe also declined to say whether he would protect the commonwealth’s status as a right-to-work state or search for ways to make the state more friendly toward organized labor.
“I’m going to work with management. I’m going to work with labor. I’m going to work with everybody to move Virginia forward,” McAuliffe said. “It’s not ‘either-or.’ We are a right-to-work state that has been here for many years, and it’s not going to change. But the focus has got to be not on trying to divide folks. [It] is, how do we work together to grow the Virginia economy to have the most diverse economy to bring in those 21st-century jobs?”
A right-to-work state is one where a worker does not have to join a union to perform a job; union membership (and dues collection) cannot be mandatory.
Virginia’s existing law is clear:
No person shall be required by an employer to become or remain a member of any labor union or labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer. . . . No person shall be required by an employer to abstain or refrain from membership in any labor union or labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment. . . . No employer shall require any person, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment, to pay any dues, fees or other charges of any kind to any labor union or labor organization.
UPDATE: The Washington Examiner’s Sean Higgins writes that McAuliffe’s other statements suggest that he won’t change the state’s right-to-work laws, but that he was “obviously trying to delicately tip-toe around the whole issue of how far he would go in backing union rights.”