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Public employees and employee representatives will hold a press conference 10:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, in Room 252 of the state Capitol to talk about the potentially devastating impact of cuts to the West Virginia Public Employee Insurance Agency program, which affects over 200,000 state and local public employees and their families.
“As a member of the Public Employee Insurance Agency Finance Board, I can’t begin to express how concerned I am about what could happen to our lowest paid public employees if the Legislature cannot find a way to properly fund PEIA,” said Elaine Harris, the state's international representative for the Communications Workers of America and a vice president with the West Virginia AFL-CIO.
What: Press conference to discuss effects of PEIA funding crisis
When: 10:30 a.m., Monday, Feb. 15, 2016
Where: Room 252, McManus Room, state Capitol Main Building (located along the House of Delegates North hallway)
The following is a statement from West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue regarding the passage today of Senate Bill 1, “Right to Work,” and House Bill 4005, repeal of Prevailing Wage:
“The legislative leadership relentlessly pursued “Right to Work” and repeal of Prevailing Wage despite appeals from thousands of hard-working West Virginians and hundreds of employers and contractors to stop and consider the damage caused to workers in other states through lower wages and less safe workplaces, and despite proof that these measures do nothing to create jobs.
“On behalf of 140,000 hard-working men and women represented by the West Virginia AFL-CIO, I would again like to thank Governor Tomblin for seeing through the false promises offered by supporters of both bills and standing up for West Virginia’s middle class. In the coming months, we will direct our energy and resources toward reminding West Virginia working families which legislators failed them, and urging them to vote accordingly – to remember in November.”
West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue said he is extremely grateful to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for vetoing both Senate Bill 1, commonly known as “Right to Work,” and House Bill 4005, repeal of state Prevailing Wage.
“On behalf of 140,000 hard-working men and women represented by the West Virginia AFL-CIO, I would like to thank Governor Tomblin for seeing through the false promises offered by supporters of both these bills,” Perdue said. “Rather than endorsing legislation that only serves out-of-state corporate interests, the Governor stood up for West Virginia working families.”
Members of the West Virginia Coalition of Retired Public Employees (CORPE) will gather at the state Capitol Thursday, February 11, to remind legislators of the benefits owed to the thousands of retired public employees who are struggling to get by.
“It has been years since our retirees have been provided with a cost-of-living increase on their pensions, yet the state taxes the Social Security benefits and pensions of our retired teachers and public employees,” noted CORPE spokesman Ernest “Spud” Terry. “On top of that, retirees face the possibility of skyrocketing state insurance premiums that they simply cannot afford.”
Polling conducted in the last several days by nationally recognized firm Public Policy Polling clearly shows that most West Virginians hold unions in very high regard and do not want lawmakers to pass legislation that would weaken them.
“Time and again, we’ve provided the facts that show ‘Right to Work’ lowers wages, leads to more workplace deaths, does nothing to attract quality jobs and inserts government in private employer/employee negotiation -- and the underlying reason for those outcomes is ‘Right to Work’ weakens unions,” West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue said. “That’s the sole purpose behind the legislation. And that’s why these big companies, the Chamber of Commerce, and these wealthy out-of-state interests want it.”