Worker Freedom

In West Virginia, we need to create a more dynamic and flexible job market that allows workers to work. This can be achieved by implementing policies such as ‘right to work,’ reforms to occupational licensing, and adjustments to scope of practice for health care practitioners. These elements are crucial for shaping a labor market that promotes economic growth and worker flexibility.

Right to Work

In its early founding, Cardinal played a pivotal role in championing the Right to Work in West Virginia, a policy foundational to enhancing worker freedom. Right to Work empowers employees to join or financially support a union, ensuring that participation in union activities is a matter of personal decision rather than a mandatory condition of employment. This policy underscores our commitment to fostering a work environment that respects individual choice, contributes to a more flexible and competitive job market, and aligns with our principles of freedom and self-determination.

By emphasizing the benefits of ‘Right to Work,’ such as increased job market flexibility and the empowerment of workers to make their own decisions regarding union participation, we not only shed light on Cardinal’s historical advocacy for worker rights but also reaffirm our dedication to creating a workplace that respects and upholds the freedom of choice.

Occupational Licensing

Occupational licensing is a regulatory barrier where the state requires a worker to have a specific license to perform a particular job. While licensing is often sold to ensure quality and safety standards, research has shown it doesn’t help with safety or quality. Additionally, excessive or unnecessary licensing can burden job opportunities and mobility.

  • Universal Licensing Recognition: This reform would require West Virginia to recognize occupational licenses obtained in other states. Universal licensing recognition reduces barriers for professionals moving into the state. This can streamline the process for skilled workers entering the West Virginia job market while boosting employment and access to services.
  • Louisiana’s Right to Earn a Living Act as a Model: This Act, adopted in Louisiana, is an innovative approach to occupational licensing. It ensures that licensing requirements are not overly burdensome and are directly related to public health and safety. West Virginia could look to this model to ensure that licensing requirements are necessary and proportionate.
  • Collateral Consequences: Cardinal aims to address the ‘collateral consequences‘ of occupational licensing for individuals with criminal records. By carefully considering the nature of the crime, evidence of rehabilitation, and time elapsed since an offense, the state can open up more opportunities for individuals seeking to build a better life after repaying their debt to society.

Scope of Practice

Adjusting the scope of practice for various healthcare professionals is another crucial aspect of worker freedom.

  • Pharmacist Prescriptive Authority: Expanding pharmacists’ authority to prescribe certain medications can increase access to health care. This reform would have an incredibly impactful effect on underserved areas.
  • Physician Assistant Autonomy: Making it easier and cheaper for people to get health care without compromising quality can be achieved by giving physician assistants more independence.
  • Assistant Physician (MD or DO who didn’t match for residency): Integrating assistant physicians into the healthcare system can address physician shortages and provide additional pathways to meaningful employment for medical school graduates.
  • Psychologist Prescriptive Authority: Granting psychologists prescriptive authority, especially in mental health treatment, can expand access to comprehensive care.

These initiatives are crucial for West Virginia. They can lead to a more dynamic labor market, reduce unnecessary barriers to employment, and enhance access to various necessary services. They represent a shift toward a more open, flexible, and inclusive workforce, which is essential for the state’s economic growth and the well-being of its residents.

Learn more about how these policy changes can positively impact your life in West Virginia. Explore our detailed resources to understand the real-life implications of these policies and how they can enhance your day-to-day living.

Check out some of our Worker Freedom articles:

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The Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy works alongside Mountaineers to build a West Virginia Miracle founded on economic freedom, education freedom, worker freedom, and a culture of freedom enshrined in the state motto: Mountaineers are Always Free.

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