2020 Democratic presidential candidates want Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to back a right-to-work law that would ban compulsory union membership.
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The Virginia National Right to Work law ensures that nobody should be denied a job based on that person's decision to join or not join a union.
"I can’t foresee Virginia taking actions [that would include] repeal of the right-to-work law," Northam told the Governor’s Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates on Monday, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders -- both strong supporters of workers' unions -- encouraged Northam to repeal the law Wednesday on Twitter.
"Governor Northam, you have the opportunity to empower unions and working families. You should take it," Warren wrote.
Warren introduced a plan in October she described as "the most progressive and comprehensive agenda for workers since the New Deal" that would prohibit states from enacting "right-to-work" laws and enforced a $15 minimum wage.
Sanders encouraged the Virginia governor, who remains in office despite being part of a blackface scandal, to "do the right thing."
"The Virginia AFL-CIO and Lee Carter are right," Sanders tweeted. "If we're going to expand the middle class and end corporate greed, we need to repeal so-called 'right-to-work' laws that have been a disaster for Virginia and 26 other states. Gov. Northam: Do the right thing. End 'right-to-work.'"
Republican House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones of Suffolk, Virginia, said Northam's decision was "a very good move to reassure the engine that’s driving our economy," the Times-Dispatch reported.
Virginia AFL-CIO Communications Director Destiny LeVere, however, sided with Sanders and Warren, saying her organization felt "deep disappointment" with the governor's move, according to the Times-Dispatch.
"Being named 1st for business and 51st overall for workers isn’t something Virginia should be proud of," LeVere said in a statement. "This General Assembly session, workers will be joining together to ensure that there will be a robust, pro-labor agenda that values Virginia’s workers, putting us at the forefront. Number one on this agenda is repealing right-to-work."