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Recent Press

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.

The West Virginia AFL-CIO has a rich history of supporting candidates for public office who stand for fair wages, good benefits and a safe workplace, regardless of party affiliation.

After last year’s gubernatorial primary, the WV AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education endorsed Jim Justice because he committed to support our position on issues that are important to West Virginia working families, not because of his party affiliation.

As a sign of that commitment, Governor Justice recently vetoed multiple bills that were part of the Republican legislative leadership’s damaging agenda aimed at hurting working families to the benefit of wealthy corporate interests. 

Governor Justice’s decision to switch political parties is unnerving. But given his vow to only pursue legislation that helps working families succeed, we are hopeful that he will use his position as the most powerful Republican state official to steer the Republican legislative leadership away from its current War on Working Families. 

We will be requesting a meeting with Governor Justice ASAP to confirm that he still stands by his commitment to support working families.

Until that confirmation, we defer making any further statements on this matter.

WHAT: 2017 Expose Walmart Tour – Press Conference

WHEN: Tuesday, May 23rd 2017, 4:00 PM

WHERE: West Virginia State Capitol (front steps), 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East

WHO: Making Change at Walmart along with local unions, workers, taxpayers, community groups, and the following speakers:

Josh Sword – President of West Virginia AFL-CIO

Ginny Moles – President of Alliance for Retired Americans

WHY: Walmart’s excessive police calls in the city of Charleston is a major drain on the community’s taxpayer-funded resources and public safety needs. It is shame that the Charleston police and taxpaying community have to cover the security costs of a company that profited $13.6 billion last year.