Recent Press

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.

West Virginia AFL-CIO leaders, West Virginia union members and friends will rally outside the Charleston and Martinsburg offices of Senator Shelley Moore Capito on Thursday, July 22, beginning at 11:30 am, to urge Senator Capito to support the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. 

During the rally, labor leaders will briefly discuss how the PRO Act, a labor rights bill, will reform inadequate labor laws and empower workers to exercise their freedom to organize and bargain. West Virginia workers will call upon Senator Capito to join Senator Joe Manchin and co-sponsor the PRO Act, legislation essential to making America’s economy work for working people. 

At the same time, the Eastern Panhandle Central Labor Council will rally outside of Senator Capito’s Martinsburg office.

WHAT: Rally outside the offices of Senator Shelley Moore Capito

WHEN: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 22

WHERE: 500 Virginia Street East, Charleston; 300 Foxcroft Avenue, Martinsburg

Today, Teamster Local 175 members employed by Coca Cola Consolidated in Bluefield West Virginia voted unanimously to reject the company’s final offer for settlement of a new contract and authorize a strike. The contract expires on July 28, 2021. The company is proposing significant increases to the amount that employees pay for their health insurance plan despite the fact that major changes were made to their health insurance only one year ago. The company is also offering nearly 20 percent less in wage increases for their hourly employees compared to similarly situated employees at the company’s Charleston West Virginia branch. The company is also offering substantially less for their commission employees than they agreed to pay their employees in other locations in West Virginia. During negotiations, the company claimed that it has been negatively affected by COVID-19. The fact is, as evidence by the company’s own numbers, the company sold substantially more product and made substantially more money in 2020 than it had in the previous years. While the company is crying poor mouth when it comes time to give increases to their employees, the company’s CEO Frank Harrison III already exorbitant salary was increased over $688,000 in 2020.