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Press Release Archives

The following is a statement from West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword on the state Supreme Court’s decision regarding the preliminary injunction on Senate Bill 1, so-called “Right to Work.”

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling pertains solely to the preliminary injunction issued by Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey that postponed enactment of the Right to Work law while she considers her final ruling.

In a hearing today before the West Virginia Supreme Court, attorneys representing the West Virginia AFL-CIO, the West Virginia State Building Trades and several others argued that the justices should allow Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey the time she needs to rule on the unions’ lawsuit challenging the state’s so-called “Right to Work” law. 

At issue before the state Supreme Court today was state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s request to overturn Judge Bailey’s preliminary injunction blocking enactment of the “Right to Work” law. 

Citing the potential harm and uncertainty created by the 2016 law, Judge Bailey issued the temporary injunction while she considers her final ruling.

While a national poll this week showed labor union approval in the United States is the best it’s been in nearly 15 years, the West Virginia AFL-CIO is grateful that West Virginians as a whole have consistently been even more supportive of unions and appreciative of the achievements of working people.

“The kind, generous working families of this state are what makes West Virginia a truly wonderful place to live,” WV AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said. “This Labor Day weekend, we look forward to joining together in celebration of the people who form the bedrock of our state and country, and the unions that fight for them.”

Gallup poll released this week found public support for labor unions is the highest it’s been since 2003, at 61 percent. Locally, another poll conducted in 2016 by Public Policy Polling showed unions to be “wildly popular” in West Virginia, with a favorability of 69 percent, and that a large majority said West Virginia would be worse off with lower union membership.

WHEELING – The West Virginia AFL-CIO will hold a ceremony Friday at the Wheeling Artisan Center to remember the 24 West Virginians who lost their lives on the job last year.

“The unions of the AFL-CIO throughout the country set aside this day to remember and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives on the job,” West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said. “It is deeply troubling that this year, we will be reading 24 names of West Virginians who left for work during 2016 and did not return home to their loved ones.”

Local and state union representatives will be on hand for the ceremony, which will begin at noon at the Wheeling Artisan Center/River City Restaurant, 1400 Main Street, Wheeling. The program will include a reading of the names of the 23 men and 1 woman who lost their lives in 2016 due to a workplace hazard, as well as words from Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott, music by local songwriter Tom Breiding and the laying of a wreath.

“Despite significant progress over the years in making workplaces safer and protecting workers, an average of 13 workers die on the job in this country each day as a result of workplace injuries,” Sword said. “On this day, we renew our pledge to fight for safe and secure jobs, and ask all West Virginians to join us in honoring those families that have suffered the ultimate loss.” 

* Mourn for the Dead, Fight for the Living *

WHAT: West Virginia Workers Memorial Day

WHEN: noon, Friday, April 28, 2017

WHERE: Wheeling Artisan Center/River City Restaurant, 1400 Main St., Wheeling

CHARLESTON – Staying true to his promise to take innovative and bold steps to move West Virginia’s economy forward, Governor Jim Justice provided a solid blueprint for addressing the state budget crisis while still bolstering the business climate.

“Governor Justice knows that the current dire budget situation calls for significant short-term sacrifices, but he hasn’t lost sight of his long-term goals of generating good paying jobs, growing the middle class and making West Virginia a top destination for both businesses and young workers – and he’s ready to get started on those goals right away,” West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said.

Despite predictions of large-scale layoffs and wage reductions, Governor Justice presented a budget plan that retains most state employees and the services they provide, Sword noted.

CHARLESTON—Over 30,000 people in Kanawha and Putnam counties are expected to benefit from this year’s United Food Operation (UFO) food distribution program, which kicked off its 35th annual food distribution program today.

“Our local food pantries are seeing even more need this year than last,” says Elaine Harris, UFO chairperson. “We are determined to help them fight hunger in our community.”

The 2017 food distribution program, which runs through April 1, is the 35th in a row for the group. The all-volunteer charity does not distribute food directly to the public but purchases food in bulk that supplies 12 independent food pantries across Kanawha and Putnam counties.