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Head of State's Largest Workers Union to Retire


The head of West Virginia's largest workers union is retiring after more than a decade of service. 

West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue announced his retirement this week in an email to union members. 

Perdue has led the union since 2004 and previously served as the union’s vice president and secretary-treasurer. Before that, he served as a local union leader and has been involved in organized labor for more than four decades.

A native of Clarksburg, Perdue is also a member of the West Virginia Workforce Investment Council. 

In his written statement, Perdue said he will step down at the end of the year and looks forward to spending more time with his family.

His email said:

After more than four decades of working in the labor movement and nearly 20 years with the West Virginia AFL-CIO, I have decided to retire at the end of this year.    While I look forward to spending more time with my wife and family (which includes eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren), this decision didn’t come easily.  Throughout my years of service, I have been inspired by the work ethic, integrity and kindness of working West Virginians, who ask for no more than the fair wages, quality benefits and safe workplaces they deserve.   I am deeply grateful for your support of our efforts, and look forward to assisting as the West Virginia AFL-CIO and the labor movement across our country continues this critical work.  

Perdue’s retirement comes at a transitional time for unions in West Virginia. Lawmakers have passed legislation during the past two years that union leaders like Perdue call an attacks on workers.

That legislation includes a repeal of the state’s prevailing wage and the passage of a bill that prevents unions from automatically collecting dues from non-union workers. The right-to-work law is being held up in a state court because of a lawsuit led by several unions, including the AFL-CIO.

Ashton Marra covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program. Ashton can also be heard Sunday evenings as she brings you state headlines during NPR’s weekend edition of All Things Considered. She joined the news team in October of 2012.

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