West Kentucky AFL-CIO President Jeff Wiggins urged audience to "join a union"
(Murray KY January 21, 2017) - Union members showed up at March for Equality and Social Justice with one thought in mind: Register their displeasure with the Kentucky General Assembly and Governor Matt Bevin.
Long time labor activist Larry Sanderson told West Kentucky Journal that the union can and will get prevailing wage back into Kentucky law. Sanderson said that the law that made union wage the hourly wage on public works in the state was repealed in 1982. It was restored in 1992. What it will take, according to Sanderson, is getting friendly legislators back in office.
Members of Local 118 Plumbers and Pipefitters marched with members of the United Steelworkers Women of Steel Local 550.
At left, Kota Ross, Donna Steele, and Addie Ross marched and handed out pick knitted caps.
Jeff Wiggins, President of the West Kentucky AFL-CIO, was one of the speakers at the rally at the end of the March. Wiggins recited names for what he called his Wall of Shame. Topping the list - Governor Matt Bevins followed by
- Ky Rep. Kenny Imes (5th House District),
- Ky Sen. Stan Humphries (First Senate District)
- Rep. Steven Rudy (1st House District)
- Ky Sen. Danny Carroll (2nd Senate District)
- Rep. Richard Heath (2nd House District)
Wiggins had only two names on his good list - Rep. Will Coursey and Rep. Gerald Watkins.
Wiggins called right to work the "right to freeload." He said that the Chamber of Commerce or local country club would make him pay dues. He asked why workers should be allowed to enjoy the benefits of union membership without paying for them.
Unions have an uphill climb if they expect to replace unfriendly legislators with friendly ones. The House now has 64 Republicans and 36 Democrats. The Senate has 27 Republicans and 11 Democrats.