Recent Press

HARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – The West Virginia AFL-CIO will hold a ceremony at the state Capitol to remember workers who died on the job last year.

The 27th Workers Memorial Day ceremony is set for noon Tuesday. Local and state workers and union representatives will attend the ceremony in front of the West Virginia Coal Miner Statue.

West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue says the event will honor 17 West Virginians who died at work in 2014.

CHARLESTON -- To celebrate the completion of a new apartment building designed to provide the physically disabled with independent living accommodations, representatives of several groups that contributed to its design and construction held a ceremonial ribbon cutting today.

“This project provides some much-needed, centrally located living space for people who face physical challenges,” West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue noted.

Named in honor of longtime attorney Patrick Maroney -- who through his work as General Counsel to the WVAFL-CIO and as a state and community leader has dedicated decades of service on behalf of fair housing and employment -- the Thomas Patrick Maroney Unity Apartments contains 13 one-bedroom accessible apartments, which include kitchens and bathrooms designed to accommodate people with mobility challenges.

By Kenny Perdue

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.