Recent Press

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.

The Daily Mail Opinion page editorial from May 9 (“Would governor’s jobs program put West Virginians to work?”) caught our eye because it raised some excellent questions regarding Gov. Jim Justice’s proposed jobs and infrastructure plan.

It is refreshing to see the Daily Mail Opinion page emphasize the needs of West Virginia working families by raising the following issues:

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