(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) – Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall joined hundreds of labor union and community members at the State Capitol today to voice their opposition to right-to-work legislation introduced today in West Virginia. Delegates are expected to move forward on the measure as early as tomorrow.
“For years, out-of-state corporate interests have made billions on the backs of hardworking West Virginia families. Now, they’re attacking the one thing that has protected us—our union contract,” said Hall, who also serves as president of Teamsters Local 175 in South Charleston, W.Va.
As Hall spoke, hundreds of workers crowded around the rotunda holding signs that said, “Not in My State.” The rally took place prior to the State of the State address.
“Workers will continue their strong presence at the Statehouse throughout the session,” said Paul Blakenship, a mechanic at Cummins Crosspoint and shop steward for Local 175. “Right to work won’t just hurt union workers; it will hurt all workers in West Virginia.”
Similar legislation seeking to limit collective bargaining rights in West Virginia was introduced in 2015, but the opposition from workers pressured delegates against pushing for a floor vote. The bill died in committee last March as thousands of workers rallied on the steps of the Capitol.
“Instead of focusing on economic development, state delegates have decided to focus their efforts on dismantling workers’ rights. We need to be looking out for people who work for a living, who pay taxes in this state and who spend their money in this state. That’s what drives the economy,” Hall said.
Right-to-work laws weaken a union’s ability to help workers bargain with their employers for better wages, benefits and working conditions by allowing non-members the benefits of a union contract without paying any of the cost.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.