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Democrats critical of GOP right to work constitutional amendment

constitutionThis afternoon, Senate Republicans echoed their House counterparts and voted to enshrine “right to work” in the Virginia Constitution. Delegate Dickie Bell’s (R – Staunton) constitutional amendment, HJ 490, passed on a straight party-line vote.

Virginia has a strong right to work tradition, and has had right to work laws on the books since the 1940s. Today’s vote advances the process of enshrining those laws into the state constitution, to the detriment of Virginia workers’  rights and to the benefit of wealthy outside corporate interests. (The resolution will have to pass again in 2016, and then be approved by the voters, in order to become law.)

Speaking after the vote, Senator George Barker (D – Fairfax) said, “This amendment is downright unnecessary. Right to work laws have been on the books in Virginia for over 70 years. It is ironic that Republicans frequently accuse Democrats of government overreach, and yet they feel it appropriate to reflect in the Constitution something that has been practice for so long.”

Senator Dave Marsden (D – Fairfax) said, “This is a political maneuver in an election year, an attempt by my Republican colleagues, backed by special corporate interests, to weaken the rights of hardworking Virginians.”

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