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Striking workers at Cabell Huntington Hospital pose for a picture in front of a union bus

Labor organizing in the Ohio Valley goes beyond coal

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ELKVIEW, W.Va. (OVR) — In late December, West Virginia union members and supporters gathered in the small town of Elkview, about 20 minutes outside of Charleston. Dozens of linemen, coal miners, educators, plumbers and others lined up by the side of the road in front of Tudor’s Biscuit World to show their support for the… Read More

Gifts on a trash can lid and an open mailbox

Neither snow nor rain nor anything over $20: some tips on holiday tipping

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KENT, Ohio (WKSU) — ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping as we choose just the right gifts for friends, family, and the service people who will be delivering our gifts this month and carting away the empty boxes next month. During the holiday season, there are a few do’s and don’t’s when it comes to… Read More

A passenger van is decorated with messages of solidarity for striking workers

Two strikes and two union drives signify labor unrest in the Ohio Valley

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HUNTINGTON, W. Va. (OVR) — In the Ohio Valley, the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing labor shortage have encouraged workers to join what many say is a national and growing wave of labor actions. Workers across industries, in steel, health care, nonprofits and food service, have joined in calling for increased health… Read More

A man approaches a van from a COVID-19 vaccine mobile clinic hosted by McDonald's and the California Department of the Public Health in September in Los Angeles.

Biden’s vaccine rules for 100 million workers are here. These are the details

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — In early September, President Biden announced he was taking steps to get more Americans vaccinated and turn the tide on COVID-19. On Thursday, the administration rolled out two of those steps — two different vaccine rules covering more than 100 million workers. Here are the details: Deadline is Jan. 4: The… Read More

A 'Help Wanted' sign is posted beside Coronavirus safety guidelines in front of a restaurant in Los Angeles, California on May 28, 2021.

How employers can win workers back (and keep them) after the ‘Great Resignation’

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (NPR) — In the wee hours of a Saturday morning this past June, Mary Waters pulled into a grocery store parking lot in St. Louis. It was where she had been working for more than a year, stocking the freezer section. “I sat in the parking lot, and I tried to will… Read More

The KFC in Athens is just one on many business looking for employees.

Lawmakers want to let teens work later on a school night

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The bill would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work until 9pm on a school night. Current law says those teenagers have to stop working at 7pm when they have school the next day. Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) said the bill, SB251, requires approval by parents. “They’re still not able… Read More

Crowd of people protesting. Protest, uprising, march or strike in city street. Anonymous activist fist up.

Growing number of U.S. workers are pushing back against employers during “Striketober”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NewsHour) — The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union reached an agreement on a new film and TV contract this weekend, averting a strike that would have ground productions around the country to a halt. But it’s not the only showdown between workers and businesses, especially after over a year of risky and… Read More

In this Dec. 3, 2015 file photo, The Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial is shown in Whitesville, W.Va.

WV Remembers Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster On 11th Anniversary

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RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va. (OVR) — Monday marks 11 years since the Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster in Raleigh County, West Virginia, where 29 miners were killed on April 5, 2010. Federal mine safety investigators determined that a buildup of methane gas and coal dust led to the explosion at the Massey Energy-owned mine. It… Read More

Miners assemble on railroad tracks to block a shipment of coal from a Blackjewel mine.

Blackjewel Bankruptcy Leaves Damaged Lands, Miners’ Compensation In Limbo

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WHITESBURG, Ky. (OVR) — The Blackjewel bankruptcy case has been ongoing since the summer of 2019 when Blackjewel, LLC abruptly collapsed, leaving over 2,000 miners in Wyoming, Kentucky and West Virginia without their jobs, their benefits, or their final paychecks. In protest, Kentucky miners spent much of that summer camped on the railroad tracks to… Read More

A union miner at the rally for pension protection.

Biden’s COVID-19 Bill Championed As A Boon For Failing Ohio Valley Pensions

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MURRAY, Ky. (OVR) — Major unions and one of their leading allies in the U.S. Senate are hailing tens of billions of dollars allocated for shoring up struggling union pension funds. The funding added to President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, dubbed the Butch-Lewis Act, would provide $86 billion to dozens of failing… Read More

West Virginia teachers demonstrate for a pay increase.

Bill Would Allow Firing Of Striking West Virginia Teachers

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia state senator has renewed an attempt to punish teachers for striking in a state where work stoppages have occurred in two of the past three years. Senate Education Committee chairwoman Patricia Rucker introduced a bill Wednesday on the first day of the regular legislative session that would allow… Read More

David Pratt Jr. and Sr., right and second from right, protest former employer Blackjewel in summer 2019.

‘There’s Going To Be Something Better for Him’: Former Blackjewel Miners Reflect on Changes in Coal Country

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On a blistering August afternoon in Cumberland, Kentucky, David Pratt, Jr. stood in the middle of a two-lane highway, holding a sign that read “COAL MINERS AND TRUCKERS AGAINST CORPORATE AMERICA.” A few yards away, his father, David Pratt Sr., who is graying but still muscular, leaned back in a lawn chair perched precariously on… Read More

Miners and supporters block the railroad in Pike Co., KY

More Unpaid Appalachian Miners Stage a Coal Train Blockade

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For the second time since summer, eastern Kentucky coal miners are blockading a railroad track to protest unpaid wages. The new blockade, which was started Monday afternoon by Quest Energy miners, echoes the months-long blockade by Blackjewel coal miners over the summer and speaks to a growing discontent in Appalachian coal country. “It’s hard to go… Read More

The coal power station on the border between WV and PA

2020 Hindsight: The Ohio Valley’s Decade in Data

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The year: 2009. A Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama has just made history upon taking the presidential oath of office. The national economy is at a low point in the Great Recession. And the Pittsburgh Steelers are the first NFL team to win six Super Bowls. Ten years later, as 2019 gives way to… Read More

Retired Kentucky miner Virgil Stanley at a UMWA rally for pension protections.

Murray Energy’s Bankruptcy Could Bring Collapse of Coal Miners’ Pensions

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The recent bankruptcy of Ohio Valley coal giant Murray Energy has renewed fears about the already shaky financial foundations of the pension plan that tens of thousands of miners and their families depend upon. The seismic collapse of yet another coal employer has lawmakers from the region renewing their push to fix the United Mine Workers pension… Read More

Huntington, West Virginia skyline

Cabell County EMS Workers in Seek to Unionize

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia county’s emergency responders have announced plans to unionize. The Huntington Herald-Dispatch reports dozens of Cabell County EMS employees showed their support for the initiative at a county commission meeting on Thursday. A United Mine Workers of America representative, Floyd Conley, asked commissioners to recognize his organization as their bargaining unit…. Read More

Jacob Dyer at the Coalfield Development Corporation site.

Why Worker Training Programs Alone Won’t Save Coal Country

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Bobby Bowman mined coal in West Virginia for 12 years before his employer shut down. “I don’t think that mine will ever open again,” he said. Bowman lives in Welch, in the south of the state, where he worked at the Pinnacle Mine, which shut down almost exactly one year ago, putting him and about… Read More

Protesting miners blocked the tracks in the morning fog.

Former Blackjewel Miners End Railroad Blockade In Kentucky

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The nearly two-month blockade of a Kentucky railroad track is coming to an end as unpaid coal miners end their protest in order to take new jobs, start classes, or move away from their coal-dependent communities. When coal company Blackjewel abruptly declared bankruptcy in July, it left some 1100 Appalachian coal miners in Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia without pay…. Read More

unemployment

Ohio Jobless Rate Increases Slightly from July to August

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly from July to August. State officials on Friday said the unemployment rate was 4.1% in August, compared with 4% the previous month. Ohio’s unemployment rate stood at 4.6% in August 2018. The national rate was 3.7% in August, unchanged from July, and down from… Read More