Just as public sector union-busting legislation is spreading from Wisconsin to states like Ohio and Florida, so too is a push back from public sector employees. According to Reuters, public sector workers in West Virginia plan to rally for better pay and working conditions and in support of the public employee protests in Wisconsin.
West Virginia public workers are seeking an increase in pay, improved benefits and safer working conditions. The employees are still under a 2005 pay freeze instituted by then Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat.
The union’s demands are modest, including a 3 percent cost of living adjustment and $1500 across the board for employees. The employees also want the state to fund the West Virginia Occupational and Safety Act, which was passed in 1987 to standardize workplace safety, training and inspection. While the law has been on the books for 24 years it has yet to be funded by any governor or the legislature.
Union members plan to demonstrate Monday wearing red bandannas as a sign of solidarity with the Wisconsin workers. The red bandanna has a history with labor strikes. In the 1920s, organizers for the United Mine Workers of American wore red bandannas when trying to unionize West Virginia mine workers.
Meanwhile in Madison protests continue on into Monday with neither side showing any intention of backing down or compromising.
To read more about the fight against union busting click here.
photo courtesy of martasman via Flickr