Virginia votes no on proposed 'right to work' amendment

Published: Nov. 1, 2016 at 4:42 PM EDT
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As of 9:48 p.m. on November 8, the Associated Press reported that Virginia voters had decided to reject the proposed Constitutional Amendment 1, which would have added the Commonwealth's 'right to work' law to Article 1 of Virginia;s Constitution.

At 10:55 p.m., the Virginia Board of Elections reported the following results:

1,441,302 voted Yes - 46.69%

1,645,817 voted No - 53.31%

This was the text which voters read on the ballot when voting Yes or No:

"Should Article I of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization whereby (i) nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, (ii) membership to the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or (iii) the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any such enterprise?"

Doris Crouse-Mays, President of the Virginia AFL-CIO, released the following statement following the defeat of Amendment 1:

“Right to work laws have nothing to do with rights and voters saw through the lies. Workers deserve to have a voice on the job, safe working conditions, and earn a decent wage.

Voters have prioritized the issues that truly matter to our communities and elected officials need to focus on funding our schools, investing in infrastructure, raising wages, and creating good jobs right here in Virginia.

Virginia voters have spoken. Our Constitution is not a toy and working families will not be used as a pawn in their political game. Elections matter. We will continue to work to protect the rights of hardworking Virginians and fight to elect public officials who hold these same values.”


When voters head to the polls on November 8th, one of the constitutional amendments Virginians will vote on would add Virginia's 'right to work' law to the state constitution.

On Tuesday morning, state leaders, including Delegate Dickie Bell and Senator Mark Obenshain, who authored the amendment, were at Eddie Edwards Signs in Harrisonburg to encourage Virginians to vote yes for the amendment.

Virginia's right to work law means employees have the option to join a union - which means joining a union cannot be a condition of employment and employers cannot deny work based on membership to a union.

Senator Mark Obenshain added this amendment is about preserving the option.

"We want to make sure the only people who can change our right to work law in Virginia are the voters - not future members of the General Assembly," explained Senator Obenshain (R), who represents Virginia's 26th district.

The bill is also supported in the Valley by Delegates Steve Landes and Tony Wilt. All of the leaders at the conference said being a right to work state not only encourages new business in the Commonwealth, but also allows existing businesses to grow.

They added that, as a part-time legislature, the same laws they pass apply to them in their full-time jobs.

"Virginia, I think, has got it right, we have to go home and earn a living under the laws that we pass and for those of us who are business owners or who work in the marketplace, this is a real initiative that's going to make a difference", added Senator Obenshain.