House Minority Whip Mike Caputo today urged Governor Jim Justice to take action to help the more than 1,400 West Virginia Frontier striking employees in their effort to ensure job security and quality service.

“We are in the third week of this strike, and while these Communications Workers of America members have been bargaining in good faith, so far the company has refused to accept an agreement that would protect employees from layoffs and prevent the use of contractors and out-of-state people with questionable qualifications,” Caputo, D-Marion, said. “Governor Justice has the power to bring the parties together and try to find a resolution to this dispute.”

Caputo, who is United Mine Workers of America District 31 international vice president, noted this strike affects not only the 1,400 West Virginia workers, but also many thousands of customers, whose service is being compromised by Frontier’s job cuts and use of less qualified, out-of-state workers.

“This is about treating well-qualified West Virginia workers fairly so they can concentrate on maintaining and improving our state’s telecommunications network,” Caputo said. “Helping find a compromise that both sides can agree to should be Governor Justice’s top priority.”

Members of the West Virginia Coalition of Retired Public Employees (CORPE) will gather at the state Capitol for a breakfast on Tuesday, Jan. 30, to remind legislators of the thousands of retired public employees who are struggling to get by.

“Our pensions are stagnant and it’s been many years since we’ve had a Cost of Living Increase, while PEIA is underfunded and health care costs continue to rise,” noted CORPE spokesman Ernest “Spud” Terry. “West Virginia’s public retirees have been neglected for far too long.”

CHARLESTON – Speaking on behalf of thousands of public employees, leaders from AFT-WV, WVEA, UMWA, CWA and the West Virginia AFL-CIO called on lawmakers to work on a long-term strategy to make salaries for state employees competitive with contiguous states.

“There’s a lot of unrest among public employees out there,” WV AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said. “We have a crisis on our hands within public employment. There’s anger, there’s frustration, and as a result, a real organic movement around the state calling for change.” 

Union leaders credited Governor Jim Justice with starting the discussion this legislative session about pay raises for public employees -- including teachers, school service personnel, public safety and other state employees – but agree that the proposed 1 percent raise is not enough.   

CHARLESTON – Leaders from AFT-WV, WVEA, UMWA, CWA and the WV AFL-CIO, representing thousands of public employees, will hold a press conference 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the state Culture Center to discuss employees’ growing concerns regarding low pay and rising insurance costs, and the steps lawmakers could take to address what has become a crisis situation.   

 “State leaders have begun discussing possible pay increases for public employees, but there is conflicting information being circulated, and not all voices are being heard,” WV AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said. “This press conference will give public employee representatives – those who speak for teachers, school service personnel, public safety and other state employees -- a chance to lay all the issues on the table.”

The press conference is being held in conjunction with the West Virginia AFL-CIO’s annual Legislative Conference, which runs from Jan. 24 through Jan. 25, 2018. 

WHAT:      Public Employee Press Conference              
WHEN:      12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018 
WHERE:    West Virginia Culture Center, WV Capitol Complex 

United Food Operation, Inc. will kick off its annual drive to distribute over $50,000 in food during the next 12 weeks 10 a.m. Friday, January 12, 2018 at its distribution center in Institute. 

Each winter, United Food Operation distributes pallets of food, free-of-charge, to 12 independent food pantries around the Kanawha Valley. These distributions significantly augment the pantries' limited resources during the winter's peak demand for their services. 

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.”