Since the end of the West Virginia Legislature's regular session, UE Local 170 and our members have been stepping up our local's political action work. The local has been encouraging our chapters to invite their local legislators to their chapter meetings, and the local has organized a political action committee made up of representatives from all of the chapters to help advance our local's political action work.

In a members-run union like UE, the members not only run the union, but also carry out its program and policies, including the union's political action work. Unlike a lot of unions that rely on full-time staff, or paid lobbyists to carry out the political action work, in UE it's the rank-and-file members who do this important organizational work.

Over the past months, our chapters have had meetings with their local legislators to inform them about our members' issues and concerns. These meetings have been very beneficial for both our members and the legislators, who claimed that they didn't know how bad our members' wages and working conditions have deteriorated over the past decade.

UE Local 170 has also organized a political action committee made up of representatives from all our chapters to help advance our local's political action work. The first meeting of the committee was in early August at our union hall in Charleston. Chapter representatives gave reports of their chapter's activities, reviewed and discussed our local's recent political action work, reviewed legislation that our local supported during the last legislative session, and made plans for future PAC meetings.

The UE members also discussed our local's recent candidate survey mailing, which was sent to all of the candidates running for the West Virginia Legislature. Once the candidates return the surveys, our local will be sending out a special mailing with the results of the candidates' survey to our members so that our members can see where the candidates stand on issues important to West Virginia public workers.

The UE members also heard from Gary Zuckett, executive director of the WV Citizen Action Group (CAG), a non-profit progressive organization based in Charleston. Zuckett discussed ways that UE Local 170 and CAG can work together to benefit West Virginia public workers.

The next meeting of the UE Local 170 PAC will be on Saturday, October 11 at 11 a.m. at our local's union hall. Any member wishing to attend should contact their chapter's president, or call Chris Wolford, UE Local 170 vice president, at 304-629-9248.

You can read more about our local's political action committee meeting and chapter meetings with local legislators, including pics, by visiting our facebook page here.