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Republican Policies Spark Union Unrest In West Virginia

In their latest attempt to challenge policies of the newly elected Republican legislature, union leaders and supporters in West Virginia are planning to rally at the state capital on Saturday.

Since the midterm election, the newly elected Republican majority within the state government has been proposing ideas, including prevailing wage reform and outlawing mandatory union membership, in the hopes of improving their struggling economy. However, leadership within the local AFL-CIO has condemned the ideas as being anti-worker.

Since Republicans took the majority back during the midterm election, tensions have been high between them and the state unions. In order to fight back against the policies and lawmakers they disagree with, the West Virginia AFL-CIO announced on their Facebook page plans to rally at the capital.

According to the Associated Press, several union leaders plan to attend the rally including the American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts and Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall.

Republican lawmakers are hoping the policy changes they are pursuing will help the state’s economy which has been suffering for years. According to a report by Market Watch, West Virginia is the only state where less than half its civilians work.

The report detailed, “State data compiled by the Labor Department shows that West Virginia’s civilian labor participation rate has fallen to 49.8%, from 50% in October. The national rate in December was 62.7%.”

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