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.
“Americans' approval of labor unions has been trending upward in recent years and is now at its highest point in more than half a century at 68 percent,” he said. “Americans are supporting the labor movement in growing numbers because they have watched the wealthiest 1 percent exploit working people while providing shareholders record profits, and they know that forming a union to fight with a collective voice is the best way to turn the tide.”
As WV AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Andy Walters noted, “Unions force employers to offer higher wages and good benefits, and over the years have brought about workplace standards such as the 8-hour work day, paid vacation, healthcare benefits, overtime compensation, paid sick leave, pensions, maternity leave, and child labor laws.”
Walters said he hopes the momentum will encourage Congress to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which stands to bring around $3.8 billion in projects to West Virginia, and the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would restore the rights of workers to freely form a union and bargain together for changes in the workplace.
“Here in West Virginia, the PRO Act would go a long way in reversing much of the anti-worker legislation passed in recent years intended to lower wages and employee rights,” Walters said.
While some traditional Labor Day events have been scaled back or cancelled due to public health concerns, there are several outdoor opportunities around the state to honor working men and women while observing COVID-related precautions, such as social distancing and mask wearing, including:
City of Marmet’s Labor Day Parade
Monday, September 6, 2021
Everyone will meet at the Marmet Family Dollar - 9:30 am
United Mine Workers of America
Annual Labor Day Celebration & Free BBQ Picnic
Monday, September 6, 2021
11:00am – 4:30pm
John Slack Memorial Park, Racine WV
Paden City’s Annual Labor Day Parade
Monday, September 6, 2021 / 1:00pm
(12:00 p.m. line up at the South End of Town)
“Free” 7:30pm Jimmy Fortune Concert
(A former member of the Statler Brothers)
Brought to you by the Unions of the Marshall-Wetzel-Tyler Labor Council, AFL-CIO and Gold Khourey & Turak - Attorneys at Law