After a nine-day statewide strike, West Virginia teachers and school service employees are back to work with a hard-won commitment from lawmakers of a 5 percent pay raise for all public workers. Gov. Jim Justice also ordered the creation of a task force to explore long-term solutions to the public employees insurance program known as PEIA.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In this episode of West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear from union leaders and also from students who are finding ways to speak up about the teachers’ strike. 

WVPB/ Janet Kunicki

Gwynn Guilford is a reporter for Quartz, a business news site. She specializes in writing about the economy. Guilford spent 10 months researching Appalachia’s economy for an article called “The 100-year capitalist experiment that keeps Appalachia poor, sick, and stuck on coal”. Guilford dug into the history of the region’s economic ties to the coal industry, and the long-term effects this relationship has had on the people who live and are determined to stay in Appalachia.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Roxy Todd spoke with Guilford about her report.

May 1, 1930: Labor Leader Mother Jones Celebrates 100th Birthday

May 1, 2017
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

On May 1, 1930, labor leader “Mother” Jones celebrated her 100th birthday at a party in Maryland. The firebrand did what she did best: ruffle feathers. On this occasion, she denounced the nation’s prohibition on alcohol, saying it violated her right as an American to drink beer instead of water.

Courtesy of Dale Payne

Not many Americans know the story of the Mine Wars that were fought between workers, labor unions and mine company guards during the early 1900s. In this show, Jessica Lilly talks with filmmaker Randy MacLowry, whose new PBS documentary The Mine Wars focuses on these armed uprisings by labor organizers in the coalfields of southern West Virginia. 

Credit Courtesy Of WV State Archives (WVSA), Coal Life Collection

This past weekend, over 500 people visited Matewan, West Virginia to catch a glimpse of a new museum that tells the story of a dark and bloody time in West Virginia’s labor history.

House Passes Judges' Non-Partisan Election Bill

Feb 4, 2015

At the legislature today, there was some intense debate on the house floor as lawmakers took up two bills that are priorities for the new majority. Also at the Capitol, labor unions rally against a Senate bill repealing the state's prevailing wage. And West Virignia's craft beer makers are seeking some regulatory relief. They have the backing of Governor Tomblin, but what do lawmakers think of the industry? We'll meet the chairs of the small business committees to find out on The Legislature Today.

Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For years, Republicans have called for nonpartisan election of Supreme Court Justices. But the Democrats never put the issue on the agenda. Now having taken control of the House, Republicans finally got their wish.

Ghostbusters / via Facebook

This Labor Day weekend Ghostbusters was re-released in theaters to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary. This occurrence seems monumental for me, personally, for a few reasons.

Let me explain.

Ghostbusters was originally released to American audiences on June 8, 1984. My twin brother Dan and I were born on October 24, 1984.

I’m not good at math or reading a calendar on some days, but this fact means Dan and I were still occupying our mother’s womb when the film was released. That also means Dan and I turn 30 in less than two months.

Coal Stock Pile

Given the political climate around the EPA’s proposal, it seems unlikely that state lawmakers would have a policy without coal. Still, the United Mine Workers of America says workers and their families should be concerned about this new regulation. Groups from West Virginia and across Appalachia are gearing up to show support and protest of the EPA’s proposed rule.

Groups like the United Mine Workers of America and Coal River Mt. Watch are traveling to Pittsburgh later this week.

As it stands, the EPA rule would let states come up with their own energy policy on how to decrease carbon dioxide emissions. Given the political climate, some environmentalists worry it will be business as usual for the coal industry leaving little room for renewable energy. After all, lawmakers in states like West Virginia and Kentucky aggressively and consistently favor coal in speech and policy.

Documentary Explores 100-Year-Old History and Mystery

Dec 21, 2013
Courtesy of Michigan Technological University Archives

Watch Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913 on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 9 p.m. on WV PBS.2

This new documentary that focuses on the 100th anniversary of an epic labor strike that devastated Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Copper Country – and haunts the American labor movement to this day. Among the notable elements of that strike was the death of 73 children at a union Christmas party in what is now Calumet, Michigan. Known as the Italian Hall Disaster, it remains the deadliest unsolved manslaughter in U.S. history.