CHARLESTON -- Representatives of the West Virginia AFL-CIO and its affiliates gathered today at the State Capitol to call for a stop to the attack on working West Virginians and their families.
“I’ve been told many times this week that this has been the largest public turnout in the Statehouse halls in recent memory, and that’s because these working men and women realize how this legislative attack will hurt West Virginia families,” WV AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue said. “We’re working hard to help legislators and members of the public understand that.”
Of primary concern to the group are three pieces of legislation:
- Senate Bill 337 would enact a so-called “Right to Work” measure
“What some are calling ‘Right to Work’ or ‘Workplace Freedom’ is a proposed law that actually ties the hands of employers by taking away some of their rights and options in dealing with their employees,” Perdue said. “This legislation is often promoted as pro-business, when instead it restricts the options available to businesses, and infringes on voluntary negotiations between private employers and employees.”
- Senate Bill 361 would repeal the state Prevailing Wage
“The prevailing wage is good for local businesses and contractors, good for workers and encourages skills and training, the result being cost-effective, quality public projects,” West Virginia State Building Trades Director Steve White said. “A repeal of this would be disastrous: hurt local contractors, lead to wage cuts, fewer training opportunities, less people who have benefits, and more accidents on job – all that for no savings of taxpayer funds.”
- Senate Bill 14 and House Bill 2014 to establish Charter Schools
“This legislation contemplates creating a whole new system of schools despite the fact there is no public outcry for charter schools in West Virginia, and no evidence that academic achievement in charter schools exceeds that in regular public schools,” said Christine Campbell, President of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia. “Charter schools in other states are being criticized for financial mismanagement, lack of accountability and the failure to demonstrate academic improvement. Why is there such a push to enact charter schools when West Virginia already has in place laws to encourage innovation and mentoring within our existing school system?”
“We applaud legislators for examining every possible method to boost West Virginia’s economy and educational system, but each of us who spoke today – representing tens of thousands of West Virginians – truly believe these bills of concern would serve only to set our state’s economy back,” President Perdue said. “We urge legislators to focus their valuable time and energy on measures that will help West Virginia’s employers, employees and students succeed.”
*Attached are President Perdue’s remarks regarding Right to Work.