Jobs Hot Topic at West Virginia AFL-CIO Conference in Charleston

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia AFL-CIO is pushing for something just about everyone wants -- jobs.

Union workers, lobbyists and lawmakers gathered Wednesday for a two-day labor conference. That kickoff began with 200 people packed into the Cultural Center.

Speakers discussed issues concerning the jobs crisis and what's next for health care reform.

Judging from the crowd, the signs are clear that people are worried about jobs.

"It seems like everything is shrinking -- everything is downsizing," Putnam County Legislator Brady Paxton said.

That downsizing is something the AFL-CIO wants to stop.

"It's as much as keeping jobs here at the Capitol to the little ma and pa shops, so we are making a very strong and concerted effort to secure those jobs," West Virginia AFT President Kenny Perdue said.

Paxton said, "You've got all walks of life coming together for the betterment of the people in West Virginia, and that's what this is all about."

To make things better, some Huntington steelworkers hope for a change in health care.

"In 2003 when we went into bankruptcy, for a family plan approximately $55 a month was our share," Richard Lewis said. "Now we're paying for the family plan $250 a month."

One idea is to use stimulus money to help alleviate that cost.

"While it is one time money, the money can be used to jumpstart a community again that's struggling from the economy," Perdue said.

The labor conference continues Thursday when more are expected to lobby at the Capitol for jobs.

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