He says vote ‘no’ on constitutional amendment

Published 1:30 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2016


I write to encourage my fellow citizens to vote no to the first proposed amendment to the Constitution of Virginia on the ballot for Nov. 8. The proposed amendment is labeled “Virginia Right to Work Amendment.” It proposes to enshrine Virginia’s “right to work” law into the constitution and, thus, make it more difficult for voters ever to revoke that law.

There are strong arguments against this amendment. First, the “right to work” laws in various Southern states, including Virginia, are, in fact, designed to prevent workers from organizing into unions. They have nothing to do with anyone’s right to work but support employers against workers’ rights to unionize.

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Second, even if one favors the “right to work” law, its importance hardly rises to the level of the state constitution. Even the Richmond Times-Dispatch, scarcely the hotbed of labor support, in an editorial on Oct. 15, advocates defeat of the proposed amendment on this second ground, though it favors the “right to work” law.

Any voter who supports the right of workers to unionize in an effort to better their working conditions and/or believes the state constitution exists to embody central principles of democracy in the commonwealth, not miscellaneous issues, should vote not to pass this foolhardy and anti-worker proposed amendment.

George Bagby