Labor Day rally in Mannington emphasizes importance of unions, American workers

Source: Fairmont News

MANNINGTON – United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, both attended the Labor Day rally held Sunday at Hough Park in Mannington.

The annual event draws hundreds of union members and supporters and also serves as a political rallying point during major election years.

Roberts recognized “all workers” and credited the unions for giving people 40-hour work weeks, overtime pay and health care benefits.

In a prepared statement on the union’s website he said, “Labor Day is a special day to celebrate our union and the difference it has made in our lives. But it can’t be the only day we stand up for our union — and for members of the UMWA, it never is.

“In the last six years more than 100,000 UMWA members, our families and friends have gathered in St. Louis, Charleston, Washington, D.C., Columbus, Ohio, and elsewhere as we fought to secure the lifetime health care and pensions our members have earned and deserve.

“We won half that battle with the preservation of retiree health care benefits for 22,600 people in 2017. Now we need to complete our victory and preserve pension benefits for 86,000 retirees across America,” Roberts said.

As usual, Roberts provided a spark for the crowd on hand, leading chants and calling on union members, their families and other supporters to hold elected officials accountable.

Manchin also drew plenty of enthusiastic response as Roberts calls the 8-year senator the most loyal union supporter in the Halls of Congress.

Manchin, a native of Marion County and former governor, said unions have been important to West Virginians for many years, helping to improve the quality of life.

He said the U.S. is built on the backs of the working men and women, and he will always support their efforts.