The United Mine Workers of America held its annual Labor Day rally in Boone County, and this being an election year, candidates came stumping for the organized labor vote.
“Look, I am the granddaughter of a West Virginia coal miner, and the daughter of a West Virginia public school teacher,” said Talley Sergent, Democratic candidate for U.S. District 2
After some tough years, organized labor here is on the rebound.
A Mountain State teachers strike brought 5-percent state employee pay raises and inspired similar walkouts in several other states.
“We’re thriving here in West Virginia and look what’s happening beyond our hills and across he country,” said Christine Campbell, West Virginia American Federation of Teachers. “Where labor unions are standing up and saying ‘I’m sticking with my union’.”
“I’m sticking with the union,” sang Delegate Mike Pushkin, (D-Kanawha).
Many Democrats believe union votes can help them gain more seats in the House of Delegates and State Senate.
“When you have a party that stands up for the working class, the working individuals in the State of West Virginia, you can’t go working,” said Delegate Rodney Miller, (D-Boone).
“Yes, I think we will pick up seats,” said State Senator Ron Stollings (D-Boone). “I don’t know if we can pick up enough. I hope we can. You know, I’ve been in the majority and I’ve been in the minority, and Ilike being in the majority better, you know?”
Republicans say 2018 will be another good year for them.
“The Republican House and the Republican Senate and a Republican Governor have got this state really rolling in the right direction,” said Governor Jim Justice. “And the people of the state need to know that, and they need to recognize that in the up and coming election.”
While Labor Day is the traditional campaign kick of, the real test for both sides of the aisle will be how many boots they’ll be able to put on the ground in terms of people walking precincts or working phone banks and other volunteer opportunities.
Election Day is November 6th.