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W.Va. Teamsters Put Spotlight on RTW, Get Out The Vote For Pro-Worker Candidates

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This is the third of several blogs in the next week that will detail the Teamsters’ Get OutThe Vote (GOTV) effort in advance of the Nov. 8 election.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two Novembers ago, following the 2014 midterm elections, a new crop of corporate-backed politicians took control of the West Virginia legislature, ending more than 80 years of Democratic control and ushering in a new period of extremist politicians seeking to implement Right to Work (for less) in the Mountaineer State.

Fortunately, West Virginia workers were on the frontlines – out in full force to protest the out-of-state, anti-worker agenda at the Statehouse while current gubernatorial candidate, Senate President Bill Cole, pushed legislation seeking to weaken unions, rollback safety and repeal the prevailing wage.

Since passage of “Right to Work” (RTW) in February, Teamsters Local 175 members have joined together with their brothers and sisters in the West Virginia labor movement under the slogan “Remember in November” – a call to action for union members across the state to vote out extremist politicians who supported RTW as well as Cole and the rest of the Republican leadership.

In an attempt to overturn the disastrous new law, West Virginia workers are countering the influence of out-of-state money (i.e., billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch) with businessman and gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice, who joined General Secretary-Treasurer and Local 175 President Ken Hall at UPS yesterday to deliver his message to members.

“I appreciate what you do, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. You guys are hustlers, and I appreciate the work you do every day,” Justice said. “This is a big election for our state, and it looks like we're significantly ahead. You know where my heart is and how I feel. You saw what the other side did, and how they think, and now you have to make a decision.”

Justice has pledged to work from day one of his administration on reversing the anti-worker agenda in West Virginia, promising to bring new jobs and attract new employers to the state. His vision of turning West Virginia into a central logistics hub is the type of forward-thinking that Teamsters and other unions support throughout the state.

“Jim Justice is the right choice for working families in West Virginia,” said Hall. “His record of putting the men and women of our great state to work speaks volumes about what he will do as our governor.”

Thanks to the efforts of Teamsters at Local 175 in Charleston, voters understand the realities of RTW and the need to defeat Bill Cole and his team of anti-worker legislators.

While defeating Bill Cole is crucial to restoring workers' rights in WV, the refrain “Remember in November” extends down ballot, too. Teamsters are also focused on sending a message to legislators who voted for the passage of RTW.

Throughout the state, Local 175 members are getting the vote out for labor-endorsed candidates in their districts.

For Local 175 member Jimmy Roberts, who works at Cummins Crosspoint, this election is a referendum. 

"This election is about voting out politicians trying to take away our rights. If you voted against us and our families--any candidate trying to weaken our unions, lower our safety standards and take away our ability to earn a fair living--we will vote against you," Roberts said. 

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