Protection file

West Virginia Supreme Court Dismisses Injunction For Paycheck Protection Act | News, Sports, Jobs

A view of the chambers of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeal from the President of the Chief Justice. (Photo provided)

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on Monday overturned a preliminary injunction blocking a bill to ban the automatic deduction of union dues from paychecks.

In a 3-2 decision released on Monday afternoon, the Supreme Court ordered that a preliminary injunction issued in June by Kanawha County Circuit Judge Tera Salango, blocking the application of the 2009 House Bill, the Paycheck Protection Act, be dissolved and referred to the lower court for more details. procedure.

HB 2009 prohibits employers and payroll officers from withholding a portion of an employee’s wages and salaries for political activities on behalf of a trade union or other private organization without the employee’s express written permission. The bill also prohibits state, municipal, and county governments from withholding union or club dues from the wages or salaries of a public employee.

Justice Beth Walker wrote the opinion on behalf of Chief Justice Evan Jenkins and Justice Tim Armstead. In the opinion, Walker said that Salango “Abused of its discretion” during the grant of the preliminary injunction on June 16 on behalf of the AFL-CIO of West Virginia and a dozen other unions.

“A preliminary injunction is a powerful remedy which should only be issued after a court has carefully considered the arguments, evidence and competent authorities of the parties” Walker wrote. “Our review of the circuit court order preliminary prohibiting the entry into force of the new law reveals that it is the product of less than careful consideration.”

Walker said Salango should not have granted a preliminary injunction because the unions were unable to show how they would be irreparably hurt by switching from automated deduction of dues by government entities on paychecks to other third-party systems, such as commonly used payment systems. by customers to subscribe to video streaming services.

“Interviewees claim that HB 2009 violates certain constitutional rights. But the defendants did not direct the court to any competent authority supporting their claim that HB 2009 violates their rights of expression, association and equal protection ”, Walker wrote. “And, the respondents have not clearly demonstrated the basis for their contractual clause claim.”

“The circumstances of this case … asked the circuit court to deny an injunction to the respondents”, Walker continued. “The court abused its discretion when it did not. “

Justice John Hutchison wrote a majority dissent on behalf of himself and Justice William Wooten. Hutchison said the preliminary circuit court injunction only upheld the “Status quo,” allowing the normal deduction of contributions until the lower court decides on the case.

“I must respectfully disagree with the majority view that the circuit court abused its discretion by granting a preliminary injunction – an injunction which only maintained an ante status quo that has existed for more than half a century – in order to give the parties the opportunity to collect all their evidence and fully set out their respective legal positions ”, Hutchison wrote.

Hutchison accused Walker, Evans and Armstead of going beyond the ruling against the preliminary joinder, arguing the case before the circuit court made a decision that could be appealed to the higher court.

“… While the majority claim to send this case back to the circuit court for further processing, it has” so completely resolved the underlying constitutional issues that it makes this referral a mere lip-service “,” Hutchison wrote.

“In practice, the majority deprived the respondents of their day in court by specifying, on the basis of nothing more than the evidence that the respondents were able to produce for an emergency hearing held within three weeks of the filing of their complaint, that they cannot and will not win, Hutchison continued. “I refuse to accept this proposal at this early stage of the proceedings, before the first deposition has been taken or the first interrogation sent.”

The West Virginia legislature passed the 2009 HB on March 19, with the bill being signed by the courts 12 days later. West Virginia AFL-CIO and 11 other unions filed a lawsuit May 20 in Kanawha County Circuit Court with West Virginia State Police Corporal. Kanawha County schoolteacher JW Smith Jr. and Jacob Fertig to block law enforcement.

The Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the preliminary injunction in October from the attorney general’s office and Robert Bastress Jr., lawyer for the AFL-CIO and labor groups.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released a statement on Monday afternoon praising the decision.

“We are delighted with today’s decision of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeal,” said Morrisey. “We have always said that the West Virginia Constitution does not require the state to garnish the wages of public employees and direct them to unions. Today the court accepted. The court ruling prevents the hard-working people of West Virginia from having their hard-earned money siphoned off for speeches and activities they never intended to support.

A request for comment from the AFL-CIO was not returned.

Steven Allen Adams can be contacted at sadams@newsandsentinel.com.

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