Ken Hall Rallies Teamsters in West Virginia


Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall delivered a rousing speech to thousands of rallying protesters in his home state of West Virginia in March, urging workers to continue their fight against the legislature’s anti-worker agenda currently being pushed by state lawmakers.

Thousands of union members came out to show their support and stand shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in the labor movement, including more than 1,000 Teamsters.

What made the event extraordinary was that, despite a full foot of snow falling the night before, frigid temperatures on the day of the rally and many in the surrounding area without power due to the weather, thousands of people still showed up to make a stand for the middle class.

“The working people of West Virginia deserve better from our politicians, and we won’t sit back as out-of-state interests try to strip us of our bargaining rights, drive down our wages and weaken job protections,” Hall said to the packed crowd. “All workers deserve dignity and respect, and that’s why Teamsters across the country will be standing with West Virginians to stop this horrible assault on workers.”

In the end, the West Virginia legislature shelved the right-to-work legislation for the year, giving the working families of the state a much-needed victory.

Assault on Workers

Hall was joined by other national labor leaders including: National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia.

Union leaders thanked West Virginia workers for their efforts to form a united voice in opposition to lawmakers seeking to establish right-to-work legislation, roll back coal mine safety protections, lower the prevailing wage and diminish public education.

“I’ve always believed what’s bad for one union is bad for all unions. Fortunately, workers were ready for this fight months in advance throughout the legislative session,” said Gary Legg, a member of South Charleston, W.Va.-based Local 175, noting that Teamsters joined with miners, teachers and building trades members throughout the session as part of a shared fight to stop this harmful legislation.

“We have fought too hard and too long in the struggle for workers’ rights to become a right-to-work state. It’s time for delegates to realize that West Virginians don’t support this agenda. The assault on workers this session is bad for working-class families and it’s bad for our economy. It’s an assault on the entire state,” Hall said.

At the rally, volunteers also registered new voters while speakers talked about electing better legislators for the state’s next legislative session.

Though the right-to-work bill is dead for the year, the legislature has asked for additional study on the issue. Expect it to come back up in the 2016 legislative session.

Right to Work Passes in Wisconsin

Gov. Walker’s Attempts to Weaken Middle Class Continue

Teamsters from across Wisconsin condemned Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to sign a right-to-work bill into law despite widespread opposition to the legislation. Wisconsin Teamsters joined with other labor unions to protest the passage of the bill in the senate and assembly, participating in the more than two weeks of protests that took place outside the state capitol in Madison.

With Walker signing the bill into law, Wisconsin became the 25th state to adopt right-to-work laws, furthering the agenda of right-wing special interests whose only goal is to weaken unions.

“Gov. Walker has done a great disservice to every working man and woman in the state of Wisconsin today,” said Wayne Schultz, President of Joint Council 39 in Milwaukee. “This fight does not end today—we will continue to fight in any way we can to rid our state of this destructive law.”

The right-to-work legislation was fast tracked through the senate and assembly due to the efforts of the Koch brothers and their anti-worker allies who are working behind the scenes in states across the country to pass these destructive laws.

“We must all continue to be engaged in the political process so we can keep the fight alive,” said Bill Carroll, political liaison for Joint Council 39. “We have the power of numbers—every working man and woman and every union member in Wisconsin must stand together to stop the continued erosion of our rights and our way of life by outside special interests.”