UPDATE: West Virginia unions protest right-to-work

Published: Jan. 13, 2016 at 1:35 PM EST
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UPDATE 1/13/16 4:50 PM

Union groups have hit the Capitol for events opposing the right-to-work push introduced by the Republican-led Legislature.

At a West Virginia AFL-CIO event Wednesday morning, workers shared negative experiences from Oklahoma and Virginia, both right-to-work states.

Teamsters and other unions say they expect hundreds of people to protest the bill Wednesday evening before Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's State of the State address. Tomblin opposes right to work.

Americans for Prosperity, a well-heeled conservative group fueled by the industrialist Koch brothers, also announced online and direct mail advertising in favor of right-to-work.

Unions and business groups have both hit radio and TV airwaves in the right-to-work debate.

Republican Senate President Bill Cole says the bill will come up in a committee Thursday and possibly hit the Senate floor next week.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia lawmakers have gaveled in for their annual 60-day legislative session.

The Republican-led Senate and House of Delegates began their session Wednesday just after noon.

Republicans hold a 17-16 Senate majority, with ambiguity about how one vacancy will be filled. The state Supreme Court will interpret which political party will replace a senator who was elected a Democrat, switched Republican and then recently resigned.

The GOP holds a wider House majority.

The state is staring down a $353 million hole in this year's budget. Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will release next year's proposed budget Wednesday.

Republicans have an ambitious agenda, including right-to-work and a repeal of the state prevailing wage.

Tomblin will cap day one with his State of the State address at 7 p.m.