RACINE, BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WOWK) — It is Labor Day across the nation, and here in West Virginia it was time for a popular annual event.
It was a day to celebrate labor, but it was also a day of optimism with new companies coming to the Mountain State.
Dozens of people turned out at Slack Park in Racine, West Virginia, for the annual Labor Day rally sponsored by the United Mine Workers of America. As always, the event feature music, food and speeches from labor leaders.
In the past year West Virginia has had more than a half-dozen major announcements about new companies coming here from out of state. There are hopes that many of these will be union jobs.
“Sparkz, (an electric battery maker), is going to put a manufacturing plant in Taylor County, and they are going to hire dislocated coal miners to fill those jobs. We are currently recruiting miners and training them to go and fill those positions,” said Brian Sanson, of the UMWA.
“Well it should and likely to the tune of thousands of new jobs. We just got to make sure that the employers that are coming here, are going to start communicating with the employees’ labor organizations to make sure that we have the workforce that is highly skilled and highly trained,” said Josh Sword, President of the West Virginia AFL-CIO.
“We’re hopeful that that does, because the best workers are trained, skilled workers and coming out of the labor movement they’re the best,” said Elaine Harris of the Communications Workers of America.
The steady rain kept the crowd size down compared to past years, but organizers were happy that so many people braved the bad weather to come out and support organized labor.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, West Virginia has 176,000 workers who are members of a labor union.