By Carey Jo Grace, Organizing Coordinator
WV New Jobs Coalition (WVNJC) is a partnership of organizations seeking to bring new, well-paying jobs to the Mountain State. We believe that West Virginians deserve:
- Full-time, good-paying, union jobs
- Affordable & accessible health care
- Clean water, air, and land
- Resilient, forward-thinking infrastructure
- Just and fair protections for our vulnerable communities on the frontlines of the
ever-increasing climate emergencies
WVNJC partners, including WV CAG, the WV Working Families Party, SEIU District 1199, and the Sierra Club, have been busy this spring. (If you want to catch up with what happened in 2021, check out this slide show.) The Coalition spent months planning a series of projects that kick off this summer, as well as keeping up a presence at a variety of events.
Visioning Project – The newest addition to the coalition’s work is a series of meetings and one-on-one conversations to listen to regular West Virginians about their community’s needs, and their vision for the future of our state.
Rather than assuming we know what people need, then presenting our solutions, we want to hear directly from residents. What are their individual stories? What are the everyday struggles people face? What would make their communities stronger? Are there federal or state resources and policy changes that can make a real difference in people’s everyday lives?
The visioning project is also about lifting the voices of community members and helping them to lead work in the place they call home. Contact Carey Jo Grace, email@example.com if you want to get involved.
Electoral Work – The WV Working Families Party is leading the Coalition’s electoral work. Electoral Fellows are getting ready to hit the streets in the Eastern Panhandle, Northern WV, and Cabell County, educating folks about issues and voting. The most pressing issue right now is pushing for a strong budget reconciliation bill in Congress this summer – one that addresses climate, jobs and justice, and provides resources for struggling states like WV. WVNJC is still hoping to host a fourth Fellow in Kanawha County.
Contact Ryan Frankenberry, firstname.lastname@example.org for more info about electoral work.
Expanding the Coalition – The WVNJC recently formed an advisory committee including groups across the state who are also doing work around climate, jobs and justice. Ten organizations joined the initial call, a strong sign of support for the Coalition’s work. This summer we’ll be exploring plans and options to bolster the work we do together through the end of 2022. Hope your group can join the next call! Contact Gary Zuckett, garyz at wvcag.org if you’re interested.
Petition Drop – On April 21 representatives from the coalition gathered to present a petition to Senator Manchin at his office in Charleston (youtu.be/RmFtfslMuKE). Signed by 1,359 everyday West Virginians, who were canvassed in their neighborhoods, the petition asks Senator Manchin to lead in the Senate to invest in our economy and future.
The petition says:
Our state has an opportunity to thrive like never before if the Senate delivers on new energy jobs and economic investment legislation. We need good healthcare, and a just transition to green economy jobs. We need clean drinking water, lower prescription drug costs, and more affordable home care, community care, and child care.
With his commitment to bipartisan negotiation, Senator Manchin has the power to bring Democrats and Republicans together to craft Federal legislation that invests boldly in West Virginia and brings us thousands of good-paying jobs.
Earth Day Events – Last, but not least, members of WVNJC went back to college for a day, and tabled at Marshall and WVU Earth Day events. We talked to dozens of college students, handed out t-shirts, and collected even more petition signatures. Young folks at the events told us how important good jobs, green jobs, care jobs, justice and addressing climate change are to their futures. We heard this over, and over, and over.
These students will have to live in the world we leave them, long after we’re gone. What legacy will we leave them? The WVNJC is working hard to make it one we can be proud of.