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Del. Lee Carter (D-Manassas) (left) at the "Not my President Day" march en route to the White House on 16th Street in Washington, D.C., on the afternoon of Feb. 20, 2017.

A Virginia delegate last week introduced legislation that, if passed, would repeal right-to-work protections for Virginians working in the private sector.

Del. Lee Carter (D-Manassas) is remembered for trying to slash Virginia's police budget by over $50 million in August. Last Wednesday, Carter procured a new piece of legislation that "Repeals the right to work provisions of the Code of Virginia."

Carter, a self-proclaimed socialist, also sponsored a failed piece of legislation, House Bill 1806, that sought to accomplish the same objective back in January 2019.

The bill gained no traction among House Republicans, but its failure was cemented by moderate Democrats.

Employees in right to work states like Virginia cannot be compelled to join a union or to pay union dues as a term of employment. However, Carter's newly-introduced bill, House Bill 1755, looks to legalize agreements between employers and labor unions that would require employees to become union members in order to acquire and maintain employment.

The legislation also suggests repealing the provision that prohibits nonmembers of a union or labor organization to be denied the right to work for an employer.

Critics of the bill have vocalized that, with session resuming next month, Virginia's fragile COVID-19-era economy could buckle under the new financial obligation of forced union due payouts.

The commonwealth's economy is in recovery mode and will remain so until COVID-19 restrictions are eased back to a state of relative normalcy.

"Think back to the hardworking individuals who served you throughout the pandemic and remember—they deserve a choice," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee. "Let’s celebrate American workers by being vigilant for attempts to undercut their freedoms."

Right to work laws might sound like they benefit employees—and they do to an extent, as employees are not forced to pay for representation—but those who want to keep Virginia attractive to industries looking to establish themselves here, and who want to maintain a low cost of labor, generally support the right to work laws.

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