Recent Press

CHARLESTON – In an unsurprising but still highly disappointing move, the state Supreme Court today upheld a law created solely to undermine and weaken unions in their efforts to protect workers and represent workers’ rights. 

“Circuit Judge Bailey had rightfully ruled that the so-called ‘Right to Work’ act clearly violates the West Virginia Constitutional rights of unions and individuals with regard to the illegal taking of their property,” West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said. “This law has been the centerpiece of a years-long, partisan-driven agenda by the anti-worker majority to lower wages and benefits and eliminate workplace safety regulations – all in order to place corporate profits far above the health and safety of West Virginia workers, which is shameful particularly in light of the current pandemic we’re facing.”

“That this state Supreme Court, the product of scandal, corruption and an unprecedented impeachment process, would uphold such a law is very disappointing yet not at all surprising,” Sword continued. “In fact, this court broke their own protocol by not notifying us that a ruling had been made and was being released to the press and public. 

“I ask: How political and shady has this court become when the parties in a high-profile appeal are only notified of a decision through reporters and social media?!” 

Sword said the labor unions in West Virginia will continue to operate as they have since the Supreme Court lifted the injunction on the law in 2017 and continue fighting for the health, well being and safety of all West Virginia working families.

“As always, we will continue to negotiate for fair wages, good benefits and a safe workplace,” Sword said. “In 2020, we will work harder than ever to ensure that those who pushed for and supported this legislation, and any other laws that hurt working families, are voted out of office.”

CHARLESTON -- The West Virginia AFL-CIO has endorsed Isaac Sponaugle to be selected in the May Primary Election to serve as West Virginia Attorney General.

“Isaac Sponaugle has a proven track record of vigorously fighting to protect and support working families,” West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword said. “In the eight years he’s served in the House of Delegates, Isaac has never waivered in his dedication to ensuring West Virginians are provided a safe work place, fair wages and affordable health care – in fact he has a perfect voting record in the eyes of the West Virginia AFL-CIO.

“I am confident he will bring those values to the Attorney General’s Office.”  

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.”

Members of the West Virginia Coalition of Retired Public Employees (CORPE) will gather at the state Capitol for a breakfast on Thursday, January 30, to remind legislators of the thousands of retired public employees who are struggling to get by.

“Retirees who are part of the Public Employee and Teachers retirement systems are dealing with undue hardships and will meet with Legislators to express concerns about stagnate pensions, and lack of tax exemptions afforded other Public Employees,” CORPE spokesman Ernest “Spud” Terry said. “West Virginia’s public retirees have been neglected for far too long.”

Charleston – Today, representatives of the International Union Painters and Allied Trades District Council 53 joined elected officials, water utilities, community leaders, educators, and businesses representatives at the state Capitol as part of the 5th annual Imagine a Day Without Water, a nationwide day of education and advocacy about the value of water. Led by the Value of Water Campaign, 1,000 organizations across the country work to raise awareness about not taking water for granted and the crucial need for investment in our nation’s water systems. 

“An investment in our drinking water and wastewater systems is essential to our national health, safety, environment, and economic prosperity,” said IUPAT Business Manager Dan Poling. “Clean water is life itself.” 

In recognition of “Imagine a Day Without Water,” IUPAT held a press conference at the West Virginia State Capitol with representatives of agencies in the water and wastewater industry, along with legislators, including Kanawha Senators Glenn Jeffries and Corey Palumbo.