The Mountain Party of West Virginia is devastated to learn of the dissolution of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) by its Board, which occurred as a response to OVEC staff’s successful attempt to unionize with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). “This decision is extremely disappointing, both in view of the ongoing environmental degradation of West Virginia’s air and water as well as the blatant disregard for workers’ rights,” said Mountain Party chair Denise Binion.
From its inception, the Mountain Party has supported environmental rights as well as the right of all workers to organize their workplaces. Environmental and labor rights are integral to the party’s vision for an Eco-Socialist Green New Deal and the OVEC Union’s fight for improved working conditions within the environmental movement is beyond commendable. “All members of the OVEC Union are already working tirelessly to find avenues to continue the work and rebuild in the void left by this institution and the selfish people who decided to kill it instead of allowing it to change,” the OVEC Union said in a statement released on their social media.
In contrast to OVEC, the Board of Directors for Coal River Mountain Watch — another environmental organization based in West Virginia — voluntarily and proudly recognized their staff’s union in September, also organized with the IWW. The staff of the Green Party of the United States, the national affiliate of the Mountain Party, is also organized with the IWW. The Mountain Party believes all workers have the right to organize and unionize as a pathway towards democratic control of their workplaces, and recognizes that labor rights are inextricably linked to the achievement of environmental justice. We look forward to the future projects of the members of the OVEC Union and stand in unequivocal solidarity with all efforts of workers to unionize, especially within supposed progressive organizations.