CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Labor groups in West Virginia say a new state law that prohibits union dues or fees from being withheld from state employee paychecks is discriminatory and was passed out of spite.
A dozen organizations filed a lawsuit Thursday in Kanawha County Circuit Court. The law bans the deductions unless a worker provides written consent.
The lawsuit claims the law violates equal protection and contracts clauses of the state Constitution as well as free speech protections because it discriminates against certain employees’ viewpoints.
Unions representing teachers, firefighters, police, coal miners and corrections officers were among those joining the lawsuit.
West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said in a statement that the law “selectively and discriminately” prohibits paycheck deductions for public employees and their unions.
“It is blatant vindictiveness.”
Gov. Jim Justice, who signed the measure into law, vetoed a similar bill in 2017.
A message left with the governor’s office was not immediately returned Thursday.