In the Ohio Valley, the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing labor shortage have encouraged workers to join what many say is a national and growing wave of labor actions.
Workers across industries, in steel, health care, nonprofits and food service, have joined in calling for increased health benefits and safety measures on the job, saying contract negotiations have yielded unsatisfying results.
Union organizers say this is a significant moment, even for a region with a long history of industrial unionism.
In Huntington, West Virginia, hospital workers at Cabell Huntington Hospital and steel workers at Special Metals are on strike. In Elkview, West Virginia, staff of locally beloved fast food chain Tudor’s Biscuit World are unionizing. Meanwhile, leadership of the nonprofit organization Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition recently elected to fold the organization rather than sign a union contract with its staff.