CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU WV) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a state Supreme Court case involving the rights of workers and labor organizations.

In filing the brief, the ACLU stands with the labor organizations that filed the case and seeks to protect the fundamental associational rights guaranteed by the West Virginia and United States constitutions.

The Workplace Freedom Act, West Virginia’s so-called right-to-work law, bans labor organizations from collecting “agency fees,” which are used for collective bargaining activities that benefit employees.

A Kanawha Circuit Court ruling struck down the section of the law dealing agency fees. The judge in that case found that the prohibition violates numerous sections of the West Virginia Constitution, which contains broader protections for associational rights than the U.S. Constitution.

“Although unions may not require workers to provide fees that support a union’s ideological or political messaging, a prohibition on agency fees – fees that are associated not with promoting an ideology but with services related to the collective bargaining process --  unconstitutionally burdens … associational rights under the U.S. and West Virginia constitutions,” the brief states.

ACLU WV is asking the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to uphold the lower court ruling.