CHARLESTON – Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, today said the delay in implementing West Virginia’s right-to-work law continues to cost the state potentially billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs. Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey’s stay of the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act is currently pending before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin announced Wednesday that Braidy Industries, an aluminum mill that will produce sheet and plate metal for both the automotive and aerospace industries, will locate in Greenup County, which is less than an hour from West Virginia. The plant is expected to bring a $1.3 billion investment and more than 500 jobs to the region. In announcing the project, Braidy Industries CEO Craig Bouchard said if Kentucky was not a right-to-work state, it would not have been on the company’s list of places to build its new facility.
“While I’m incredibly happy for Governor Bevin and the residents of Kentucky who will benefit from this tremendous economic boost, I can’t help but feel disappointed that once again West Virginia seemed to have missed out,” Senate President Carmichael said. “What this CEO said was crystal clear: They are coming to Kentucky because Kentucky is a right-to-work state. With that, it is Kentucky who will benefit from that investment, that tax revenue, and those jobs – not West Virginia. Our Legislature passed the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act in 2016, and since then, its implementation has been delayed by a lawsuit from organized labor groups who seem to be afraid to allow this law to go into effect. There is no way to tell how many opportunities this state has missed, and will continue to miss, as this lawsuit waits for its final resolution. That such a small group can impede growth and progress in this state for so many people who just want a steady job with a decent paycheck is terrible. I hope the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals will act quickly to lift this stay so West Virginia can make more of these kinds of announcements and see the kind of investment and job creation our state deserves.”