Throughout the U.S., there are numerous attempts to limit the influence of unions through so-called “Right to Work” laws and other anti-worker legislation.
Parkersburg-Marietta Building and Construction Trades Council Business Manager Buddy Malone faces a unique challenge, as his jurisdiction covers areas in both Ohio and West Virginia. When Malone appeared on the AWF Union Podcast, he discussed the attitude towards unions in the area, promoted apprenticeship programs and legislation affecting workers.
Building trades in the Mid-Ohio Valley
Malone has to be sharp on both the politics and labor law of both Ohio and West Virginia. He said Ohio has been fairly good to the trades, while on the other hand, West Virginia has been hostile. Malone said the so-called “Right to Work” law in the state has opened up the attacks on organized labor.
He said some people in West Virginia see unions as a waste of time and money. However, unions are pushing back against the anti-worker sentiment in the state, despite the uphill battle.
Promoting apprenticeship programs
Malone explained that college is not for everyone, especially those men and women who prefer to work with their hands. The area building trades are doing their best to promote their programs to local students and young people in order to replenish their ranks.
One of the most effective promotion strategies Malone has found is to highlight the earn while you learn model. Showing students how much money they can earn while learning the trade gets them more excited about starting their career.
Labor legislation in Ohio and West Virginia
Malone warned the labor community that everyone should be paying attention to labor legislation being passed in their state and neighboring states. While your state may be favorable for labor at the current moment, bad-faith legislators may see an opportunity to pass an anti-worker bill without people noticing.