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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The statehouse steps were packed with nearly 7,000 union workers from across West Virginia during Saturday’s rally to fight back against legislation such as prevailing wage, right-to-work, public charter schools, and coal mine safety.
Chanting and yelling was heard from union leaders, iron workers, general laborers, school teachers, and coal miners during the “Mountaineer Workers Rising” rally.
By Paul J. Nyden
The thousands who gathered at the West Virginia Capitol for a labor rally on Saturday did not have kind words for the new Republican majorities in the Legislature.
“What the Republican-controlled Legislature is trying to do to working families is immoral. It will move our state backwards,” said Lou Ann Johnson, an associate member of the United Mine Workers union and a former aide to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. “These legislators ran on a platform of jobs, but what they are doing is sending exactly the wrong signal for the kind of jobs we want to create.”
CHARLESTON — While a cool breeze floated over the crowd, it did not snuff the fire in their hearts.
Some mumbled among themselves, and others had opened ears, as the president of the the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) shouted to an eager crowd.
“We have a powerful voice,” Richard Trumka said, his voice echoing across the capitol lawn and over the Kanawha River. “Every single politician in that building needs to hear our loud, clear message.”
CHARLESTON – Standing strong against politically motivated attacks on West Virginia working families, close to 7,000 made their way to Charleston today to celebrate “Mountaineer Workers Rising.”
“This has been a powerful display of unity that sends a clear message to the legislators who are at this very moment inside the State Capitol, making decisions that directly affect West Virginia families,” West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue said. “The people who have gathered here today represent a huge segment of our state’s population, and they want lawmakers to know that they are paying attention.”
Carrying signs with messages of “Safety and Security for all West Virginia Workers,” “West Virginians for Worker Fairness,” “Stop the War on Coal Miners,” and “Right to Work is Wrong,” attendees rallied against efforts to pass legislation to loosen coal mine safety protections, bring down wages and diminish public education.
National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts and Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall were among the large delegation of labor international presidents and officers who spoke at the noon event along the river side of the Capitol. (Attached are quotes from featured speakers.)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It was a busy day at West Virginia's capitol.
Nearly 7,000 people were on hand to show lawmakers that they're listening.
The rally was called 'Mountaineer Workers Rising.'
Several pieces of legislation were hot topics including weakening coal mine safety regulations, scaling back or repealing prevailing wage, charter schools and a proposed "right to work" law.