Press Release Archives

bobbeachCHARLESTON -- The West Virginia AFL-CIO has unanimously endorsed Bob Beach to be selected in the May Primary Election to serve as West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner.

“Throughout his long career in public service, Bob Beach has been a consistent advocate for West Virginia working families, and we are proud to endorse him to be the Democratic nominee for state Agriculture Commissioner,” West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said. “I have no doubt that as Commissioner of Agriculture, Bob Beach will apply the same principles that guided him in representing his constituents in the Senate and House of Delegates, and that’s good for all West Virginia citizens.”

Beach was appointed to the House in 1998 at the untimely passing of his father, and served five terms in the House before being elected Senator of the 13th District, which includes parts of Marion and Monongalia counties, in 2010. He continues to serve as senator of the 13th.  

“I am honored to be endorsed by the West Virginia AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education,” Beach said. “Ensuring fair treatment and safe workplaces for West Virginians is critical to securing a successful future for our state, and I wholly support the work of our labor unions.”

Sword noted the often-overlooked importance of the Department of Agriculture. “A healthy economy is dependent on a vibrant middle class and a diversity of industries, and both are linked to a strong agricultural community,” Sword said. “Bob Beach knows that, and will work every day to strengthen that link.”

As West Virginians enjoy spending time with family and friends this Labor Day weekend, the West Virginia AFL-CIO invites residents to attend one of the many parades and events honoring the achievements of America’s working people.

“This Labor Day weekend, as we celebrate the working families of our country, especially here in West Virginia, we are also thankful that unions continue to enjoy the support of the public,” WV AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said. “According to a Gallup poll released this week, an ever-increasing percentage of Americans, 64%, approve of labor unions -- one of the highest union approval ratings Gallup has recorded over the past 50 years. And unions have polled even higher in West Virginia.

“Everyday working people know that unions force employers to offer higher wages, and unions have brought about workplace standards such as the 8-hour work day, paid vacation, healthcare benefits, overtime compensation, paid sick leave, pensions, maternity leave, and child labor laws.”

WV AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Andy Walters noted another new report shows a direct link between a decline in union membership and stagnant wages and rising inequality.

“Most people see through the false promises of economic prosperity the giant corporate interests are selling as they spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy politicians willing to push laws that weaken unions and hurt working families,” Walters said. “They see the very rich getting richer, CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1978, while the typical worker compensation has risen only 12%, and national union density has declined from about 25% to about 10% over the same period.

“We are grateful that people recognize that unions are fighting to change all that.”

The following Labor Day celebrations will take place Sunday and Monday:

Marion County Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Annual Labor Day Celebration & Picnic

Sunday, September 1, 2019

12:00pm – 4:00pm

Hough Park, Mannington WV

Featured Speakers Include:

UMWA President Cecil Roberts and UMWA Secretary-Treasurer Levi Allen  

Meet 91 year old “Rosie the Riveter” Anna Hess

Additional info contact Mark Dorsey: 

(304) 777-7642 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Workers United 863/ LIUNA

Annual Labor Day Celebration & Picnic

Sunday, September 1, 2019

11:00am – 6:00pm

Valley View Country Club – White Sulphur Springs, WV 

Additional info contact Peter Bostic: 

 (304) 667-3863 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


United Mine Workers of America

81ST Annual Labor Day Celebration & Picnic

Monday, September 2, 2019

11:00am – 4:30pm

John Slack Memorial Park, Racine WV

During this year’s September 2nd celebration, you are invited to participate with 

UMWA President Cecil Roberts and UMWA Secretary-Treasurer Levi Allen  

in a one mile march to reflect on the largest labor uprising in United States history,

the August 25 – September 2, 1921 “Battle of Blair Mountain” led by the UMWA.

President Roberts, Sec.-Treasurer Allen and others will start their march in Marmet,

and they will march 11 miles to John Slack Memorial Park in Racine.

Those that wish to participate in the one mile march must be at

John Slack Memorial Park by 11:00am on September 2nd  where you’ll be transported 

by bus to meet President Roberts, Sec.-Treasurer Allen and the others 

for the one mile march back to the park.

Additional info contact Brian Lacy:  

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / (304) 541-3948


Marshall-Wetzel-Tyler Labor Council, AFL-CIO 

Paden City Labor Day Parade

Monday, September 2, 2019 / 1:00pm 

(12:00 p.m. line up at the South End of Town)

“Free” 7:30pm Jimmy Fortune Concert      

(A former member of the Statler Brothers)

Brought to you by the Unions of the 

Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler Labor Council, AFL-CIO

and Gold Khourey & Turak - Attorneys at Law

Additional info contact BB Smith: 

(304) 545-7781 /  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Kanawha Valley Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Will participate in the City of Marmet’s Labor Day Parade

Monday, September 2, 2019 / 10:00am 

(8:30am line up at Marmet Elementary) 

Additional info contact WV AFL-CIO: 

(304) 344-3557 /  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Members of the press and public are invited to the West Virginia AFL-CIO’s annual Workers Memorial Day this Sunday, April 28, at the Farmington No. 9 Mine Disaster Memorial to honor the 23 West Virginians who lost their lives on the job in 2018.

On April 28, the unions of the AFL-CIO throughout the country observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job, and to renew the fight for safe jobs,” said WV AFL-CIO President Josh Sword. “Here in West Virginia, we pledge to stand united against the ongoing attacks on workers’ rights and protections, and demand that elected officials put workers’ well-being above corporate interests.”

In an encouraging sign of unity within the West Virginia labor movement, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 175 made a unanimous decision this past Saturday to affiliate with the West Virginia AFL-CIO.

“West Virginia working families have been under attack by the legislative leadership for the past five years, and the Teamsters and the West Virginia AFL-CIO have worked side by side to combat that effort,” said Teamsters Local 175 President Ken Hall, who is also General Secretary-Treasurer of the Teamsters international. “I look forward to working with WV AFL-CIO President Josh Sword, Secretary-Treasurer Andy Walters and their team, including all the affiliates and the network of 13 regional Central Labor Councils across the state, to spread our message and build even more support. 

CHARLESTON -- West Virginia working families won a major victory today, when Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey struck down the so-called “Right to Work” law aimed at attacking unions. 

“Judge Bailey was right-on with her ruling,” West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said. “She made it very clear that this bill violates the West Virginia Constitutional rights of unions and individuals with regard to association, property and liberty.

A coalition of education groups representing county superintendents, school administrators, teachers and service professionals will hold a joint press conference at the Capitol on Monday, January 28, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. in the Governor’s Cabinet and Conference Room on the main floor of the capitol building adjacent to the Secretary of State’s office. 

The purpose of the press conference is to discuss concerns with the Omnibus Education Bill originating in the Senate Education Committee. 

WHAT:  Joint Press Conference 

WHEN: Monday, January 28, 2019 | 11:00 A.M. 

WHERE:  Governor’s Cabinet and Conference Room 

(adjacent to the Secretary of State’s office)