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Press Release Archives

CHARLESTON – More than 200 union members representing over 100 local union affiliates gathered in Charleston this week for the West Virginia AFL-CIO’s 29th Constitutional Convention to adopt policy and elect officers, selecting Josh Sword to a full four-year term as President of the organization.

“It is absolutely the highest professional honor of my life to be elected to serve in this capacity and to represent the wonderful people of the West Virginia AFL-CIO,” Sword said. “I look forward to leading the charge for the betterment of all West Virginia working families.”

WHERE’S THE TAXES?

Painters District Council 53 is holding a protest against Seminole Equipment and the WV Department of Highways on Thursday September 28, near 3222 Kanawha Turnpike, South Charleston (intersection of Hwy 60 & CR-12). The protest will be from 11:30 to 1:00pm.

Seminole Equipment from Tarpon Springs, Florida was recently awarded a $1.25 million bridge painting project in South Charleston.  

Painters District Council 53 was able to obtain copies of project payroll records and believe they show no state income taxes were withheld.

“Upon further review we believe Seminole Equipment has received 97 payments from the State of West Virginia since 2006. Those payments total almost $10.75 million,” said Painters District Council 53 Secretary-Treasurer Dan Poling. “We were able to obtain many of these payroll records and believe no state income taxes were withheld on any project during the past 11 years. We estimate the loss to WV taxpayers exceeds $250,000.”

Seminole has recently been awarded an $8.5 million project in Raleigh County and is the apparent low bidder for a project in Wetzel County in excess of $6 million.

“To make matters worse Seminole imports labor from out of the area,”  Poling said. “DOH has dropped the ball! We have alerted them to the problem but have heard little back. We want the State of West Virginia to make Seminole Equipment pay their taxes. It’s not fair to the West Virginia residents and businesses that do pay taxes.”

Painters District Council 53 Charleston, WV

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