- Ceremony Friday to honor WV workers who died on the job
- Teamster Members Unanimously Authorize Strike At Coke
- The PEIA Cost Shifting Bill (aka SB 268)
- Public Employee Representatives to Discuss Sweeping PEIA Legislation
- Union leaders’ statement on Senate PEIA bill
- Workers Will Rally for Fair Treatment at Italian Opera-Themed Tecnocap Celebration
- A celebration of former WV AFL-CIO President Jim Bowen's life Sunday
- A statement from Mike Caputo regarding the passing of Jim Bowen
- Former WV AFL-CIO President Jim Bowen Passes Away
- This Labor Day weekend, celebrate the momentum of working people
- A statement from West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword regarding the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022
- Ceremony Thursday to honor WV workers who died on the job
- 2022 AFL-CIO Convention - In Memoriam
- IUPAT DC 53 HOLDING PROTEST MONDAY
- WV AFL-CIO Holds 30th Constitutional Convention
- United Food Operation Food Drive Kickoff Friday
- A statement from West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword on Senator Joe Manchin’s position on the Build Back Better Act
- IUPAT DC 53 Hosting Open House for National Apprenticeship Week
- Honor and Celebrate the Labor Movement this Weekend
- Teamsters at Bluefield WV Coca Cola Distribution Center Reach Agreement for a New Contract Avoiding a Strike
- A statement regarding the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
- Union members will rally Thursday to urge Sen. Capito to support PRO Act
- Teamsters at Bluefield WV Coca Cola Distribution Center Reject Contract
- Rally for Viatris/Mylan jobs Tuesday
- Public Employees Launch Legal Challenge of Paycheck Bill
I must admit, at the outset of the 2015 regular legislative session, I was taken aback by the outright hostility and disrespect directed toward working people and the unions who represent them. I was troubled by opinion pieces in Charleston newspapers from a coal industry/big business representative, a corporate labor attorney and a former legislator that not only included untruths, but in a few instances, base mean-spiritedness.
But in the end, I’m grateful.
When faced with that reality, and the realization that the majority of legislators in office right now favor large corporate interests over the well being, safety and way of life of the middle class and working poor, West Virginians turned out by the thousands at the state Capitol March 7.
They demanded that the truth be told about a bill with the word “Safety” in the title that instead reversed mine safety regulations, and legislation called “Right to Work” that would lower wages and limit options in the workplace.
West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue said the decision by household products leader Procter & Gamble to invest $500 million in a West Virginia manufacturing facility is testament to the strong, viable workforce and economic opportunities the state provides.
“Companies like Procter & Gamble have every reason to want to locate in West Virginia, despite what some lawmakers and other interest groups have been saying about our state,” Perdue said.
He said the announcement once again brings into question the need for legislation to enact a so-called Right-to-Work law and other measures that would negatively affect workers.
“Some have said such bills would eliminate road blocks that are keeping companies from locating in West Virginia, but clearly those road blocks don’t exist,” Perdue said. “In the name of ‘economic development,’ they are talking about rolling back a prevailing wage law that ensures fairness, training of a highly skilled workforce, and quality construction, and of enacting a Right-to-Work law that would needlessly weaken the employer-employee relationship by adding government interference.
I am deeply disappointed that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed Senate Bill 357, the so-called Creating Jobs and Safety Act of 2015, into law. I have said again and again as this legislation has moved through the process that it is a bad bill, one that strips vital protections that were put in place to keep our miners safe. I am saddened that Gov. Tomblin put coal industry operators, CEOs and profits above the health and safety of West Virginia’s hardworking coal miners.
West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue said he is deeply disappointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s decision to sign legislation that puts West Virginia coal miners at risk.
“In his long career as a lawmaker, Governor Tomblin had always worked to adopt laws that help protect coal miners – until now. Senate Bill 357 is a disappointing step backward in mine safety, and I had hoped the Governor would veto the legislation,” Perdue said.
SB 357 abolishes the West Virginia Diesel Commission, which protects the health and safety of miners in underground mines that use diesel powered equipment. It also increases the distance a rail track can be from the working face area from 500 feet to 1,500 feet -- a distance of five football fields an injured miner would have be transported to reach rail transportation to the outside.
But the most troubling element of the bill strips language intended to protect miners from ventilation dangers related to smoke and fire in instances of moving equipment -- a provision became the focus of attention after the 1972 Blacksville No. 1 Mine Fire in Monongalia County that killed 9 West Virginia coal miners.
“It’s only been five years since the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster that took 29 coal miners’ lives, yet this legislation removes safety provisions intended to protect West Virginia miners in the event of a fire,” Perdue said. “I am shocked and saddened by the Legislative leadership’s pursuit of a bill that places profits above safety, and I am very disappointed that Governor Tomblin apparently did not join the majority of Democrat legislators in seeing the danger the legislation poses to miners.”
The so-called right-to-work law is wrong for West Virginia.
“Right-to-work” laws are about only one thing: starving unions of the funds they need to help employees bargain with their employers for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.
Because federal law and the Supreme Court declare that no one can be forced to join a union as a condition of employment or be forced to pay dues used for political purposes, right-to-work is unnecessary.
But it does something else and goes too far: It entitles employees to the benefit of a union contract—including the right to have the union take up their grievance if their employer abuses them—without paying their fair share of the cost.