NewsLocal News

Actions

Do you know about State Constitutional Amendment No. 1?

Posted at 7:32 PM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 22:19:55-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Voters could make a change to Virginia's constitution on election day; however, several viewers reached out to CBS 6 with questions about what ballot question 1 actually means.

The amendment, which will appear on every ballot in Virginia,  would memorialize Virginia's "right to work" law in the state constitution. Critics of the measure argue it would make it much harder to reverse the law in the future.

The language that will appear on the ballot election day was described as "confusing" by voters who spoke to CBS 6.  Here is the exact question that voters will be asked on election day:

Proposed Constitutional Amendment Question 1

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?

Currently, Virginia's right to work law bans businesses from requiring their employees join a labor union as a condition of their employment. The law has been part of Virginia code for 70 years, and the constitutional amendment will not change that.

A "yes" vote to ballot question 1 would add right to work to the state constitution, but if there was an effort to repel the law in the future, a statewide referendum vote would be required to reverse it. With a "no" vote, nothing would change.

RELATED: What’s on your ballot? See the 2016 General Election Voter Guide!

Most local labor unions oppose the amendment because they claim it is a solution searching for a problem.

"[Right to work] has been a state law since 1947. To my knowledge it has never been challenged," said Russell Wade, head of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 10.

"Right to work laws are something of a misnomer. They do not guarantee anyone the right to have a job, nor do they guarantee any other workers’ rights," said Gina Maglionico with Virginia AFL -CIO.  "Amendment 1 does not change that law, but it proves that legislators don’t trust voters or future elected officials to make their own decisions about what’s best for the Commonwealth."

On the other hand, pro-business groups argue that the right to work law is good for Virginia workers because it gives them the option whether or not they want to join a union and good for business because they said it brings jobs to the Commonwealth.

"Right to work is actually a restriction on employers, but one we think is worthwhile," said Ryan Dunn, Executive VP of Corporate and Government Affairs for the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.  "Basically giving people a choice about whether or not a union is right for them is something we think we think is worth preserving."

According to the ACLU of Virginia, poll workers are not permitted to help voter interpret ballot questions on election, so voters are urged to research the question prior to arriving at their polling place.

To read more about ballot question 1 go to the, click here.

For additional third party analysis of ballot question 1, click here.