Blog Posts > State of Working West Virginia 2021: Labor, Race, and Solidarity
August 27, 2021

State of Working West Virginia 2021: Labor, Race, and Solidarity

State of Working West Virginia 2021: Labor, Race, and Solidarity is out now! The 14th edition of the WVCBP’s State of Working West Virginia series explores the interrelated declines of worker power and economic equality in the Mountain State.

The report was written in three parts.

Part 1 examines the economic transition that took place in recent decades as inequality grew, wage growth stagnated, and job quality declined in West Virginia. It draws heavily on quantitative data to argue that the decline of unions was a significant factor in the rise of economic inequality.

Part 2 takes a qualitative, in-depth look at the labor history of West Virginia – exploring both how strong unions played a key role when our state grew together, and how their decline played a key role when it started to grow apart.

Part 3 outlines policy recommendations to strengthen worker power in West Virginia, which in turn could contribute to improving the state’s economic performance.

You can read Sean and Myya’s full report here.

Four Priorities for ARPA Funds

As the federal government continues to disperse emergency funds across the country, West Virginia lawmakers and advocates alike must focus on how the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) can further the state’s health, workforce, and economic recovery.

Our newest blog post explores four priorities for decisionmakers and advocates to consider when planning for the use of ARPA funds. They include:

– Investing in Long-term Health Care Infrastructure;

– Expanding the Scope of Services for Those with the Greatest Need;

– Ensuring Investments in the Health Workforce Last Beyond the Crisis; and

– Keeping the Public Conversation Open

Read Rhonda’s full blog post here.

Emerging Stronger from the Pandemic: A Blueprint for an Equitable Economic Recovery in West Virginia

West Virginia faces a pivotal moment as we begin to emerge and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. Our recent report, Emerging Stronger from the Pandemic: A Blueprint for an Equitable Economic Recovery in West Virginia, explores lessons learned from the pandemic, as well as provides policy recommendations by topic area that would serve as an equity-centered pathway forward for our state and its people.

The report’s areas of focus include:

– Tax and Budget

– Family and Economic Security

– Health

– Labor

– Education

This week’s Facebook Live took a look into our report’s findings and recommendations. If you couldn’t tune in, you can view the recording here.

You can also access the full report here.

Come Work With Us!

We’re hiring!

The WVCBP is seeking a federal campaign advocacy organizer to assist in developing and executing a federal campaign strategy that secures both public & legislative support for progressive policy at the federal level.

You can find the full job description here.

If interested, please submit an application packet to Kelly Allen at kallen@wvpolicy.org by 5pm on Monday, September 13, 2021. Application packet should include resume, an example of a campaign workplan you’ve executed, and a link to an earned media hit you’ve generated.

Get Paid to Share Your Medicaid Experience with Us!

The WVCBP’s Elevating the Medicaid Enrollment Experience (EMEE) Voices Project seeks to collect stories from West Virginians who have struggled to access Medicaid across the state. Being conducted in partnership with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, EMEE Voices will gather insight to inform which Medicaid barriers are most pertinent to West Virginians, specifically people of color.

Do you have a Medicaid experience to share? We’d appreciate your insight. Just fill out the contact form on this webpage and we’ll reach out to you soon. We look forward to learning from you! 

You can watch WVCBP’s health policy analyst Rhonda Rogombé and West Virginians for Affordable Health Care’s Mariah Plante further break down the project and its goals in this FB Live.

Picnic for Paid Leave – Morgantown

Morgantown folks! Join the Paid Leave Works for WV coalition next Monday, Aug. 30 at 5:30pm for a free, family-friendly evening to share and learn about paid leave, why it’s important, and how you can help West Virginia families secure this important support.

The coalition will provide free food, games, and more.

The Legacy of Mine Worker Organizing: Our Region’s Workers Can Lead Today’s Fight

As part of the Centennial commemoration of the Battle of Blair Mountain, we welcome you to join us next Thursday, Sep. 2 at 2pm for a webinar hosted by the ReImagine Appalachia campaign that will reflect on the lessons for today from the worker organizing across racial lines in West Virginia that helped sparked U.S. industrial unionism and the New Deal in the 1930s. 

The webinar will feature insight from the WVCBP’s very own summer research associate, Myya Helm.

You can find further details and event registration here.

Juvenile Justice Reforms Not Reaching Their Full Potential in WV

ix years ago, a bill including a host of reforms to reduce the number of children confined in West Virginia’s juvenile correction facilities was passed by the state legislature. But today, the Mountain State continues to incarcerate more children per capita than nearly every state in the country. The first article in a two-part Mountain State Spotlight series on juvenile justice explores how insufficiencies in data collection and oversight are negatively impacting justice-involved West Virginia children. Excerpt below:

Because of the complexity of the system — which includes DHHR, the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Department of Education and the judicial system — a lack of proper data sharing means kids like Geard Mitchell, who bounce back and forth between DHHR and BJS facilities, can easily get lost in the system. And without oversight, the system can’t continually improve.

This emphasis on data collection and system oversight was one of the many reforms codified by the 2015 juvenile justice bill. But West Virginia’s work in implementing this provision of the law was relatively short-lived.

Six years after West Virginia’s juvenile justice reforms were enacted, most of the ingredients necessary to make the system work the way the task force intended are still missing.

Read the full article here.

RESULTS Organizing and Advocacy Fellowship

RESULTS is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose movement of advocates works together toward equity and the end of poverty.

The RESULTS Fellowship seeks to inspire and train new advocates in the movement to influence political decisions that will bring an end poverty. The Fellowship is an opportunity for young adults (age 20-35) to broaden their experience and knowledge in the operations and organization of Congress while advocating on key poverty issues, like global health and affordable housing. RESULTS provides training and support to speak powerfully, engage with the media, advocate directly to members of Congress, and mobilize your community. RESULTS has proven over the past 40 years that when people like you use their voices effectively, we can make progress towards the end of poverty. The RESULTS Fellowship is an unpaid Fellowship for individuals living in the United States.

Access further details and the fellowship application here.

Hear from former fellows about their experiences here.

Hooligans Homecoming

For all our music lovers, come enjoy some great tunes in exchange for donations to some great causes! The event will take place from 12-8pm on Sep. 4 at the Barboursville Park Amphitheater.

Find more details at the Facebook event here.

Urge West Virginia’s US Senators to Support the Build Back Better Recovery Package

Earlier this year, our federal policymakers sent money to families so people can pay their rent and put food on the table, helped school districts protect teachers’ health and get kids back into the classroom, and boosted vaccine distribution—all of which will help accelerate our economy and address the immediate health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

Congress acted because we raised our voices together and demanded help. With short-term relief on the way, now Senator Manchin and Senator Capito need to look to our future and pass economic recovery legislation that ensures everyone can thrive, no matter what we look like or where we come from.

Our elected officials are drafting recovery legislation now, so it’s time to make yourself heard again. Tell them you want our government to support working families and invest in our economic recovery by making health care coverage more available and affordable, permanently expanding relief for struggling people, and ensuring children get the support they need to succeed.

Please join us in urging Senators Manchin and Capito to support the Build Back Better recovery agenda by sending them a letter here.

Child Tax Credit Survey for Parents

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) authorized significant but temporary changes to the Child Tax Credit. Last month, eligible families received the first of their monthly enhanced credits. Research is already showing that the enhanced CTCs are helping to reduce food insecurity and financial hardship among households across the country, particularly among households with children.

Here are the four changes included in the ARPA that might help you with the financial burden of raising a family:

1. The credit amount has been increased. The ARPA increased the amount of the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under age 6, and $3,000 for other children under age 18.

2. The credit’s scope has been expanded. Children 17 years old and younger, as opposed to 16 years old and younger, will now be covered by the Child Tax Credit.

3. Credit amounts will be made through advance payments during 2021. Individuals eligible for a 2021 Child Tax Credit will receive advance payments of the individual’s credit, which the IRS and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service will make through periodic payments from July 1 to December 31, 2021. This change will allow struggling families to receive financial assistance now, rather than waiting until the 2022 tax filing season to receive the Child Tax Credit benefit.

4. The credit is now fully refundable. By making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable, low- income households will be entitled to receive the full credit benefit, as significantly expanded and increased by the ARPA.

If you are a recipient of the Child Tax Credit, we’d love to hear how your family is being impacted to help us in our advocacy to make this credit expansion permanent. Please let us know by taking our survey here.

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