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Showing blog posts tagged with West Virginia

Free Student Laptops Help Reconnect McDowell

Shentel Communictions photo

Every middle school student in McDowell County, W.Va.—nearly 900—was presented with a new free laptop last week as part of the initiative to improve education in an economically struggling county of underperforming schools, drug and alcohol abuse, housing shortages, limited medical services and inadequate access to technology and transportation. 

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West Virginia: Weak Environmental Laws = Poison Water

West Virginia: Weak Environmental Laws = Poison Water

Common sense tells you don’t put a hazardous chemical storage facility on the banks of a river, a little more than a mile upstream from a drinking water intake that serves more than 300,000 people downstream. So should the law.

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Women of Steel Raise Money to Send Kids to Camp

Women of Steel Raise Money to Send Kids to Camp

As we've covered before, Reconnecting McDowell is a broad community effort including unions, corporations, community groups and local residents to help revitalize struggling McDowell County in West Virginia. The effort has led to many successes and life in McDowell is already improving. The latest success was a fundraising drive led by United Steelworkers (USW) members Karen Shipley and Heather Anderson that raised $5,000 to send kids to a 4-H camp.

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Retired Ironworker Shows Union Pride in Nascar Design

Photo courtesy of the Ironworkers Facebook page.

Retired ironworker Travis Witt from Local 301 (Charleston, W.Va.) shared the photo, left, on the Ironworkers' Facebook page of a car he designed with the union's logo. 

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Thousands Rally in West Virginia in Support of Patriot Retirees

Photo from the United Mine Workers Twitter stream.

Update: 16 people were arrested at the rally, including UMWA President Cecil E. Roberts, after they refused police orders to move away from the Patriot Coal headquarters.

Thousands of people are rallying in Charleston, W.Va., Monday in support of retired workers from Patriot Coal, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal. Patriot filed for bankruptcy and is attempting to abandon its responsibilities to pay health care costs for retirees from the three companies, a strategy the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) argue was purposefully done when Patriot was created as a way to shed those costs. Along with current and retired mine workers, the rally includes family members, labor and faith leaders, elected officials and community supporters.

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Reconnecting McDowell Continues to Revitalize West Virginia County

In March 2012, AFT helped lead a public-private partnership to help struggling McDowell County, W.Va., and the participants were hopeful that things could be turned around economically and educationally. A year later, the Reconnecting McDowell project has begun to show that investment in communities can change people's lives.

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Was Patriot Coal Designed to Fail to Dump Retiree Pensions?

In July, Patriot Coal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York. Among the reasons for Patriot’s financial difficulties were the huge legacy costs related to health care benefits and pensions owed to retirees and widows of former employees. The company's intended goal, it seems, according to the Mine Workers (UMWA), is to get out of obligations to the miners that worked hard for decades, often doing significant damage to their own health.

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Now That the Election Is Over, the Real Battles in the States Begin

Photo of Rick Snyder courtesy Michigan Municipal League

While government in Washington, D.C., remains divided and marked by long-term gridlock, governments in the states are much less divided. Of the 50 states, 37 now feature state governments where the governor and majorities in both legislative houses are controlled by one party—24 of those are controlled by Republicans. Extreme, anti-working family Republicans have repeatedly assaulted the rights of people in recent years and, by all accounts, the trend looks to expand in 2013. Working families are mobilized and fought back in 2012 and will continue to fight in 2013.  The response to the "right to work" for less push in Michigan was so strong, that governors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have since declared that they won't push for right to work in their states.

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One Year Later, 'Reconnecting McDowell' Shows Progress in West Virginia

AFT is part of an exciting public-private partnership to improve educational, social and economic support for McDowell County, W.Va.

In March 2012, the AFT helped lead a public-private partnership to help struggling McDowell County, W.Va., and the participants were hopeful that things could be turned around economically and educationally. A year later, the Reconnecting McDowell project has begun to show that investment in communities can change people's lives.

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Bear Hugs and Presidents

Gerald Watkins\Photo by Berry Craig

Berry Craig, recording secretary for the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and a professor of history at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, is a former daily newspaper and Associated Press columnist and currently a member of AFT Local 1360. Craig sends us this.

Gerald Watkins grinned knowingly when he saw the Florida pizza guy on TV the other day bear-hugging President Obama and hoisting him off the floor.

Gerald said he felt like embracing Obama when he met him half a dozen years ago. “He was Sen. Obama then,” added Gerald, who settled for a wink and a handshake.

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