Recent Press

The following is a statement from West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword on Senator Joe Manchin’s position on the Build Back Better Act: 

“Throughout Joe Manchin’s tenure in public service, he has brought opposing parties together to reach compromises on the most controversial of measures, and while he has said he would vote against the Build Back Better Act in its current form, it is our hope that he will continue to negotiate with other national leaders in Washington on the legislation, which would help workers, our families and the labor movement both across the country and right here in West Virginia.

“The critical relief the Act would provide on the cost of health and child care has been repeatedly noted, but just as importantly, this legislation preserves the strained Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which provides benefits to thousands of coal miners who suffer from the disease; contains groundbreaking labor enforcement provisions guaranteeing workers’ basic right to organize and bargain collectively by applying civil monetary penalties on employers that commit serious unfair labor practices (provisions from the PRO Act, of which Senator Manchin is a co-sponsor); creates and improves jobs for home care workers, while expanding access to affordable home and community care for seniors and those disabled; and includes Sen. Manchin’s ‘American Jobs in Energy Manufacturing Act,’ which will invest $4 billion in coal communities to attract manufacturing companies that will provide good-paying, union jobs.

“Senate Majority Leader Schumer has said he will continue to ‘try to find a way forward’ on the Build Back Better Act. The West Virginia AFL-CIO knows, and Senator Manchin should know, how important those provisions are to West Virginians and that’s why he should get back to the table and continue to be part of the discussions.”

WESTON, WV– The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 53 (IUPAT DC 53) will be celebrating the U.S. Department of Labor’s seventh annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) with an event Wednesday at their FTI Training Center in Weston.

NAW was established by the U.S. Department of Labor to celebrate the significant impact Registered Apprenticeship programs have had in re-building our economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities. Hundreds of NAW events and activities will be taking place all over the country, to include open houses, skill competitions, community forums, apprentice graduations, business open houses, high school and college career fairs, apprenticeship signing days, industry roundtable events, diversity and inclusion dialogues, and more.

The labor movement in West Virginia is commemorating significant milestones this Labor Day weekend, and the West Virginia AFL-CIO invites residents to safely celebrate the achievements of America’s working people.

“Members of the United Mine Workers of America and allies have already begun a 3-day, 50-mile trek to recreate the march to Blair Mountain, where the historic battle for worker rights took place,” WV AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said. “This is the perfect moment to reflect on the sacrifices of those before us -- including labor leaders Richard Trumka and Joe Powell, who we recently lost -- and vow to honor them by continuing this important work.”

Sword said there is also cause to celebrate.

Teamster Local 175 members employed by Coca Cola Consolidated in Bluefield West Virginia voted by 95% to accept the company’s latest offer for settlement of a new contract. The contract expired on July 28, 2021. The companies latest offer resulted in additional wage increases as well as a drastic reduction in the amounts of money that the company had previously demanded that employees contribute to their health insurance.

The following is a statement from West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword, Secretary-Treasurer Andy Walters and the Vice Presidents that make up the WV AFL-CIO Executive Board regarding the sudden passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

Today West Virginia labor leaders mourn the tragic loss of a towering figure in the labor movement and a tireless fighter for working families across the country, even around the world. As a former coal miner who served for many years as president of the United Mine Workers of America, Richard had deep connections with West Virginia workers and traveled to our state countless times throughout his career to advocate on behalf of them. We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones, and vow to continue fighting for working families in his honor.