© 2021 West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Striking Workers Exempt from Benefits Under Bill

Mike Caputo
Perry Bennett
West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a Senate bill that changes the eligibility for unemployment benefits for workers who go on strike.

Senate Bill 222 was taken up by the House during a Saturday floor session. The bill would make workers who have temporarily lost their jobs due to a strike ineligible for unemployment benefits from the state.

Workers who go on strike and are permanently replaced at their jobs or workers who are impacted by a lock out can still receive those benefits.

Del. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, who is an international vice president for the United Mine Workers of America, said during a floor speech the bill is unnecessary and a “poke in the eye” to labor unions.

“This is just, in my opinion, a very unfair piece of legislation to workers who in the event have to go on strike to use the tool of withholding their labor to get a fair and just contract,” Caputo said, “This system has worked for many, many years, I don’t know anybody in recent history that’s receiving unemployment benefits; I don’t even know anybody in recent history who’s been on strike in West Virginia; there so few and far between anymore.”

House Judiciary Chair John Shott, R-Mercer, argued the bill clarifies the provision in the law.

It passed the chamber 57 to 42 and now heads back to the Senate.

WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.