Strike-a-lachia

11/16/2021

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Chuck: So on today’s show, we’re going to be talking about the strikes happening across the country and in Appalachia is part of well, what was once strike Tober, right? And now is strikes. I don’t know if we’re going to keep with these monikers, but let’s roll with it. But first 

Data-Lachia: Virginia Governors Race

We’re bringing back a segment. We’re reviving it, bringing it back from the dead. Generally, the fervent fan base, makes demands and we try to meet those demands and they were demanding that we bring this segment back, pounding down our doors.

So, what am I going to do? I’m going to bring it back. Data-lachia numbers are important to telling the story of Appalachia. It’s where I bring up a number. I asked John what he thinks it is. He takes a guest sometimes he’s right. Sometimes he’s not. Then we talk about it. Very exciting stuff. I got a good one today, John, you know that we could not avoid talking a little bit about the Virginia governor’s race and I look, I’m just gonna say, say it right now.

The Virginia whole elections, not just governors. It’s been talked about a lot. It’s kinda been beaten into the ground. We’re not going to like linger on it too much, but we do have to address it. And so John I’m going to hit you with some numbers.

2.9%. 

Big John: 2.9%, 

Chuck: 2.9%. That’s the number. 

Big John: Okay. Alrighty. Alrighty. Alrighty. I’m going to guess that 2.9% is the percent that the Republican nominee in Virginia, one in counties that bide and carried like percentages.

 That he won by in each county. I don’t know. So 

Chuck: you’re saying that Glenn Youngkin won Fairfax county. I don’t 

Big John: know. This is a tough one. I’m not used to low numbers. 

Chuck: Yeah, look, I get it. That’ll let you. It comes in many forms and its arms are often unforgiving. Do you want to take guests? I’m 

Big John: learning that 2.9% is the amount that the democratic nominee last.

Chuck: In Virginia, that’s close. It’s not, it’s not what I was going for, but I believe that the Democratic nominee lost by around 2% give or take. So. Inherently wrong. 2.9%. That’s the average of which Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor underperformed, Joe Biden in Appalachian counties.

God, there you go. I was kind on the right in Virginia Appalachia counties Virginia because we were making it in the right area. You are, you’re getting warmer. You’re getting warmer. If it’s. If I let you fill it, the fish on the hook a little bit longer, you would’ve been out real down. And to be quite honest, 

Big John: I did not pay much.

I mean, I, I looked at like who won, but I didn’t pay much attention to any of the statistics out of Virginia. This is really, I was kind of worn out from elections from last time. So I just kinda stayed away from this. 

Chuck: Well, the reason why I bring this up is that the Democrats have got to start competing more in rural counties.

They’re getting destroyed. Joe Biden won the state a year ago, literally by 10 points. The democratic candidate for governor last week lost the state by two, that’s a difference of 12 points, a 12 point shift. That should be huge. Cause for concern for Democrats. Now there’s a lot of reasons for the loss and there are a lot of shitty takes out there about it, but as with any election, right.

All the time on this show, people are quick to say, well, they lost because of this one, very resist one reason, one specific reason, because it makes for a good tweet, they’ll get retweeted. And that drives me like upper law elections as with most anything in life or complex. All right. And there’s a lot of reasons why the Democrats lost my point being though is that Democrats have to do better in rural counties.

Have they ever wanted to win anything? They have to do better in rural counties, especially rural Appalachian counties. They have to, they have to be more competitive in rural America. That doesn’t mean they need to win all these counties, but they got to be better in say 

Big John: that the DNC will learn from this.

They won’t, they will continue the same way as unfortunately, this is exactly. Go rewind back to 2020 and all of those elections where we predicted this would happen. And Virginia is a great example of it because Democrats are really bad at campaigning, especially in Appalachia and in somewhat rural states, I consider Virginia not to be that role, but there are rural parts and they always lose those areas.

It’s one of those things like. Okay. I guess I could say this now, right? I, I don’t even know how to say this. I think Democrats are, I don’t know, maybe Republicans do this too, but I was worried from the very onslaught of. Democrat or that race, that governor’s race because we were getting DMS, automated DMS from those candidates on the democratic side of the governor’s race in Virginia, asking for money.

Never. If you are a candidate, listen closely, don’t you ever think it’s okay to use your Twitter followers and ask for donations through automated messages. They didn’t sign up for that. They signed up to follow your campaign. They didn’t sign up for your newsletter or your email list don’t ever do that.

It is shady and it makes you look desperate and that’s exactly. Exactly the message that they were putting out and guess what it turned out to be true. They were desperate because they got their asses kicked. 

Chuck: So yeah, I think so. There’s a lot of things you can say about this. One of the things though is, and.

You know, there’s, there’s going to blame all around. There’s my blame for the candidate. There’s gonna be blame for outreach into rural areas. There’s gonna be blame for the issues and the national environment. There’s a lot of people who are Virginia voters, where they live in the DC area, and think that they know about Virginia politics because they live in the DMV.

And let me tell you something. I live in Fairfax County, Fairfax county is not representative of the entire state. And so people saying, well, if they’d only pass the infrastructure bill before the election, McAuliffe would have one I’m sure that probably would’ve helped them a little bit, but I call bullshit on that.

And so one of the reasons why is turnout John was up okay. For both. If you compare it to the 2017 gubernatorial election, the Democrat turned out like a hundred thousand more people. Here’s the thing, though, there was a 41.5% increase in turnout by the Republicans as compared to 2017. So the Republican candidate, Glen Yuncken turned the fuck out of people and he weaponized the issue of education and the issue of taxes, and the current economic climate.

That’s all I wanted to say. I, I, there’s a lot of blame to go around. There’s a lot of issues to go around and Democrats need to take a look at this and understand that you can’t just turn out these high blue areas. You have to reach out to rural people and talk to them about it. And I’m not saying that the campaigns didn’t do that.

I know that there’s a lot of staffers who worked hard on this campaign, but then, the data doesn’t yield results right now. And we’ve got to figure out what the problem is. Yeah. I mean, 

Big John: I want, as I said, I want to say like, oh man, they’ll use this data and this election, because it’s so important.

And, and, you know, they’ll fix the things that they’re facing now. They won’t, I mean, it’s sad. None. They won’t like they’ll, you know what they’re going to do, Chuck, they’re going to look at this and go, yeah, we knew we were going to lose this. Like that’s what the DNC is going to say. They would say, we knew we couldn’t win this.

Chuck: So let’s go, they’re going to say, they’re going to say we needed to pass infrastructure because then we would have won 

Big John: that. Yeah, you’re right. They, they will 100% say that because. That’s the thing. W the people who are leading the democratic party right now are all from very, very big areas, right? Like they’re all like California and New York.

Those are the people who are leading the party currently. They don’t understand what’s going on here. And it shows, it shows because you know what, they know one word that affects Appalachia and its broadband. That’s the only word that they know. They don’t understand any infrastructure or the infrastructure that needs fixed.

Or the infrastructure that will get them a vote, because I can tell you this broadband is very powerful, but not everybody understands it. And two, not everybody wants it. It’s one of those things that, yes, it’s extremely important. And we will talk to talk about it until the day that we finally have everybody in Appalachia, you know, connected through broadband.

However, it is not a 100% voting issue. It is great for the people who know it and want it and need it. You have to figure out something else for the others. And that’s the problem. The older people in Appalachia. Yes. They like the internet. No, they don’t care as much about broadband. I hate to break it to the Democrats on this, but they do care about other things, specifically taxes that Democrats missed in this election cycle because the entire time the Republicans controlled the narrative and said, Hey, we, we don’t want this bill to pass because it’s going to raise your taxes, even though it wasn’t.

The Democrats didn’t answer it. They just said, push, push, push, push, push. Because that’s all they understand to do right now because they’re so scared about losing power and trying to push bills through. And they’re still not good at that. It’s incredible. 

Chuck: Well, and you know to your point on broadband and Republicans have been running on broadband for a long time, they’d beat the Democrats to the punch on.

Years. The second thing I’ll say is your point on Texas. You’re right. And I, I don’t know if I texted this to you or a different group thread on election night, but I was watching on TV, the returns, or I was watching that day something else. And I saw the ads come up on my TV cause I use YouTube TV.

So I’ve got local ads, Glen Younkin, Republican candidate for governor running literally. And I’m not even kidding five, second ads. He’s in a grocery store. He says if I’m elected our appeal, the, a tax on groceries. Yeah. And like, if you have to take away your like, and honestly you can’t blame somebody for that in some respects, because like if that’s all you know about a candidate, why can’t Democrats run on that?

Why do you think, 

Big John: why do you think I ran on ending the social security tax in West Virginia? Because it’s important, it’s important. It’s what people want. They don’t okay. I look. This is what kills me, because like I said, the people at the top only understand one word when it comes to infrastructure in Appalachia.

Yeah. They understand potholes, whatever, but they don’t understand what Appalachians want, need, or look for in a candidate. And that is what’s missing. Go and pool. Any mailer, if you live in Appalachia, Pula, a mailer from a Republican and a Democrat, go through the Republic. Points one by one, I guarantee you that they are labeled towards the Appalachians.

Even if they’re stereotypical, they are labeled towards Appalachians. Go look at a Democrat. They are generic bullet points that have been passed down from terrible generation of Democrats to chair, terrible generation Democrats that don’t understand that things have to be specific. When you run in an urban large area, you have to be as broad as possible.

But when you run in a rural small area, you have to start getting specific. And guess what? Politicians are extremely scared of becoming specific because that shows their weaknesses. Because once they’re asked a question about a very specific thing, they either have to put up or shut up. They have to know what they’re talking about or look like an idiot.

And most of the time they don’t know what they’re talking about. They found bullet points on the internet or from the DNC or what. And they thought that that was going to be enough. Thanks for coming to my Ted talk. 

Chuck: Yeah too, yup. Now, I mean, I think, well, the other thing is most democratic consultants fucking live in blue areas and they try to come into rural areas and pretend they know what they’re doing.

They don’t there. We could talk about this at nauseum. I know we gotta get off the subject, but. I think we’re both right. And everybody else is wrong. There you go. Boom, boom. Hot takes. That’s one 

Big John: last thing. If you look, if you’re a democratic politician in Appalachia right now, you’re running for anything at all, and you think we’re wrong.

Show me, like, show me a candidate that doesn’t have to get specific. Doesn’t have to get down and dirty and win on these subjects because I can tell you that. Right now in Appalachia, Democrats are not running against Republicans. They’re running against the national democratic that whatever political action committee, the party itself, whatever they have to prove that what they hear from the national Republican party.

Isn’t what is true. The Republicans don’t have to do that because guess what? They’re really good at campaigning. And they’re really good at campaigning on the same stuff. Democrats are not, they’re all over the place. A very broad democratic Republicans. Aren’t they go after what wins they’re smarter than.

And you see it, you mean you’re going to continue to see it. 

Chuck: They were smart enough to pick somebody in their convention rather than putting it up to their voters this time. That’s why they got Glen Younkin and not some person who was a January 6th truther. Like literally that was, that was how they did it.

They did not have a primary. They had a convention vote. Anyway, yeah, I know we gotta get off this, but Yeah, we can talk about that at nauseum. Maybe we will someday true that. All right. So let’s let’s get into what we’re talking about today. Strikes giving. I think we struck that. So we’re striking strikes, giving strikes and strike Alacha.

There ya go. All right. Okay. So if you’ve been living under a rock these past few weeks or really months, and basically this whole year, 20, 21 year of the strike, so. Look, I know that you and I have talked about this a lot, but man workers are realizing their power and realizing their influence and exercising it.

And we are fucking here for it. In the United States. All right. So this year, this has been a wild year. Since the beginning of this year, there’s been over 185 official strikes, official quote unquote at 10 or 55 locations with at least 40 of them happening last month in October. And this doesn’t even count the labor protests, which didn’t technically qualify as strikes.

And there’s been upwards of 554 of those separate ones this year. So. You’re talking about workers all throughout the country who are fed up with their employers, giving them meager wages, taking away their healthcare, taking away their benefits, not sharing in on the prosperity that many of them have, and workers are doing something about it.

I mean, I love it. 

Big John: Yeah. I mean, look, and the good part about this. Look, I, I, I hate the internet a lot days, right? Especially like Twitter. I don’t like the negativity on there, but it also brings about some positive things. One of them being the ability to strike and get people to know about it. And not only to get people to know about it, but to support it.

And that’s what I I’m really happy. Liking about Twitter is that I’ve noticed that, you know, they’ll, they’ll create strike funds and because of Twitter, because it goes viral, they’re able to raise enough funds to keep going and to really, you know, fight, fight the good fight. Cause without it it’s tough.

I mean, a lot of those people are living paycheck to paycheck already, and then imagine it’s gone. So I will say that’s one of the positive things I think. Only going to get even stronger in terms of, of strikes because of all of these employers, you know, worrying or saying that they’re worried about worker shortages, you know, prove it.

Chuck: Yeah. And especially people that work in the retail industry, there’s a lot of leverage around this time of year because you’re getting into the holiday seasons where a lot of people are buying. There’s already a supply chain issue. And then you got people who are going on strike. It puts the employers in a really tough position, which is good.

They need to be in that in order to actually concede on a lot of things and especially. Well, the strike funds and stuff. Just a little bit on that. I try to share as many as we come across and try to help amplify that as much. So if you have one that you want, amplify it on some of our social media channels, just let us know.

I think it’s important. We’re not going to talk a ton about the details specifically here, but I think it’s important to give some context to why this is happening. So there are record high levels of people resigning from their job, 3% of the entire us workforce. In fact this year. Yeah, wild, insane.

It’s the most since the BLS, the bureau of labor statistics has started keeping record of it. So. Yeah. So there’s a shortage of workers accepting low wages. There’s not a, there’s not a labor shortage. So this in that’s a good way to put it. Yeah. And thank you. I think ABC news for that is that’s not an original thought from me.

 So if you take this and you combine it with stagnating wages decades of it, and decades of income inequality, it’s only gotten worse. And of course the pandemic, which. This is like a hobby horse for me, in the sense of like, complaining about this, because I feel like there’s so many people whose jobs were not impacted by the pandemic or who were modestly impacted by the pandemic.

That just think like now everything is over. Everything’s going back to normal. When a lot of people who’ve lost their job or who were severely impacted by it are still recovering and will still be recovering for a really long time. And I feel like so many people, especially in Washington, Especially around where I live, ignore that, or don’t realize that they’re like, oh, well now I can go to my restaurant and not wear a mask.

So the whole world is fucking, I can go to a diplomat and, and get a croque Madame. And so I’m fine. So that must mean everybody else in the whole fucking world spine. That’s not true. I wish I understood that reference. You’re welcome. That’s my coastal elite hat that I put on, but then also burned at the same time.

True. That’s a difficult dance. 

Big John: That is tough. Yeah. I mean, look, I recently actually saw we’re seeing a lot of it in, in West Virginia, like th the effect that this is happening, or this is having, because if you look at the growth in West Virginia, a lot of it is retail. So a lot of the jobs that are moving into the state specifically in my area are all retail, but.

They don’t pay anything. So now you’re starting to see some of the retail companies, or I guess you’d say like maybe FAS what’s what a Starbucks considered 

Chuck: it’s. It’s I think air quotes, best food. I mean, it’s considered convenience food. 

Big John: You’re starting to see them do well in areas like mine, especially with workers.

Cause they do pay. A little bit higher than the rest of the rest of the companies around here. You have like Chipola, which is coming which pays higher than any other fast food around here. You’re starting to see that, but you’re also seeing the opposite end where fast food restaurants, like in, in Parkersburg are closing at five o’clock because they don’t have enough people because people are tired of it.

Wow. Why kill yourself. I heard a lyric in a song today that said, if I’m going to sell my soul, I better be paid for it. And I thought that that’s work right there. Like that is, that is the definition of dedicating your life to something, giving your all, and then being told you’re not worth $15 or whatever now.

Chuck: And even that’s pathetic. Yeah. And we’ve got many stories of that, for sure. It’s, it’s, it’s awful. And I don’t blame any of those people for not doing that and not wanting to do that. A couple of places just dimension that are, that are trying to unionize that haven’t yet HelloFresh the meal delivery service, Amazon again, Starbucks, like you mentioned in dollar general.

 But we’re going to focus a little bit on some strikes have been happening in Appalachia because really epilepsy has been a very important place for this type of, of labor activity. And we’ve been saying this for a while, you know, I mean, we’ve talked about in fact I was going to give an update on warrior, met coal in the United mine workers that are striking they’re down in Brookwood, Alabama.

But we’ve been saying this for a while, that Appalachia has been a hotbed of labor activity and in a good way, So a couple of months ago, I think in April or may, we did an episode on the United mine workers strike at warrior, met coal, metallurgical, coal, a mining company in Brookwood, Alabama, Appalachian, Alabama, close to Tuscaloosa.

So right now they’re still on strike. It’s been seven months and counting since that strike started, which is a really long time. And, and in that time, like, You know, there has been very little coverage of it aside from some really Intrepid reporters like Kim Kelly and more local reporters and, and excuse me and media organizations like valley labor report.

But as far as it truly into the mainstream media, it’s been very few and far right. They’re finally getting some coverage, some national news coverage after their third visiting in New York city to protest the hedge funds that fund, or your met coal, which, and last week I think five or six people, including the president of United mine workers, Cecil Roberts were arrested by New York city police for protesting.

So ridiculous. And it’s still like, it takes that much effort just to get people to pay attention, but these miners have not been working for seven months. Seven months. 

Big John: Wow. I mean, and people will take that for granted. That’s the thing. And, and even, I like, sometimes I’m kind of like I don’t know how numb to that idea.

Like, I’m like, oh, they’re on strike. And then I don’t put myself in their shoes and understand the real world implications of a strike. And now that it’s like starting to ramp up even more, I started to think about that a lot more. And I’m like, Jesus Christ. My family could not go without me working for seven months.

It just, it’s just not possible. And so the fact that these people are putting it all on the line, one is it’s something that should be applauded, but two, it also should show you how bad that company is because they’ve watched for seven months as the, their employees, the people that they say they value have struggled to make it by.

Because they’re refusing to pay them a livable wage, giving them good benefits and things like that. That’s disgusting. And those are the type of companies that. You just, you can’t support anymore. 

You 

Chuck: just can’t know. And it’s, it makes me so angry. This is I it’s like more personal than me, but like it does make me really, really angry because, well, first of all, they’re busing and scabs to take their jobs, people.

Not as skilled as the people that work in that mind regularly, they bust them in every day. The company pays for it. They pay lots of money for it. In fact, what they could be paying their actual workers. And they have the local judges in their pockets. I don’t know if you heard about this, but the Cecil Roberts was giving a speech about this at New York city.

The local judges issued an injunction saying that they couldn’t strike. Wow. You know, pretty fucking fundamental, right. But it’s ridiculous. Anyway, I w we did a whole episode on this. I don’t want to get into too much, cause there’s a couple other really important strikes that we want to talk about.

But one thing, and I know that this I know that we talked about the toy drive, which I don’t want this to contradict with that, but this is sort of a personal thing for me because my, my family was on strike for five months when I was in high school and it lasted through Christmas. And I know it was different being a high schooler during Christmas than being.

Younger kid, but the United mine workers, auxiliary and Brookwood has set up a Christmas fund for the kids of the miners and the, and the families. To help fund for stuff to put under the Christmas tree. So obviously these miners are not getting paid. They’re getting some money from the strike fund, but it’s not a lot.

And so like, there’s a lot of kids in these families who are not going to have a Christmas. And so one of the people that’s, that’s a. Family member has set up a target gift list, which we’ll put a link to where they have talked to the kids and and you know, they picked some stuff out. They put them on like the gift list on target.

You can go in there and you can buy them. I went and I bought a, a race car set and had it shipped to Brooklyn just the other day. So that was really cool. And they’re trying to fill all those orders before Christmas. So this kids can have something to the tree because you know, if you’re a little.

You’re probably not going to really understand what’s going on and you still wanna have a good Christmas. And these families want to provide that for their kids while also standing up for their rights and for what they believe in. So I’m going to do a quick plug for that. I know that we’re doing some other stuff too, but if you want to donate to that and buy some toys for some kids, please feel free to do so.

Yeah. I 

Big John: think it’s a great idea and it’s something that needs to happen. And who knows. I mean, maybe the kids that are going through this and that Christmas one will be. To have access to whatever organization we donate to, which we will announce we’ll be fully transparent. It’s not like we’re not going to, it’s just honestly trying to figure out the best way to do it.

And location wise. Cause we want, you know, a lot of people to benefit. We just have to figure it out. Cause we’re like, Not located right in the heart of Appalachia. 

Chuck: Yeah. Well, let’s talk about some other really important strikes that are happening in Appalachia. Then let’s talk about why Democrats aren’t doing enough to support them.

Does that sound like fun? Or whatever. Why politicians, let me just rephrase it. Why politicians? Why politicians? Yeah. Cause we’re, we don’t want to like leave the Republicans off the hook on this. So a couple of other ones and I want to, I’ve got a couple of details on here. We’re not going to go into super detail link to some stuff.

So you’ll know Cabell, Huntington hospital. We’ve been in touch with some people at the local sci. They recently, their maintenance workers and service workers, about a thousand of them went on strike. I believe it was last Wednesday when you’re hearing this. So the first week in November and they’re going on strike because of their benefits and trying to negotiate a better contract.

I thought that this quote from a worker there was really telling a guy named Tom DIYers is from a local liquidity. Tom ed has worked at the hospital for 30 years and he said, quote, during my 32 year tenure, it seems like every year we lose benefit after benefit they take and they take and they take, and boy, if that’s not true for almost every single one of these.

Big John: Yeah. And that’s we have over the course that, well, the history of the United States, we have created a precedent that says it welcomes with open arms employers. That. I mean, that is what we have established as the norm and as okay. Capitalism, 

Chuck: baby. 

Big John: And when workers say, wait a second, it’s RJ. There are looked at as like, you know, be being unloyal to your employer and yada yada let’s make one thing clear and employer and employer, employee relationship is just that that’s it for me.

That’s it. That’s all that is, this idea of loyalty is great. Right. But if they’re not treating. With how you should, how you think you should be treated or how you should be treated. You’re not, they’re not paying you. They’re not valuing you. That’s not loyalty because they’re not being loyal to you either.

And that’s why I hate this, like this idea that there’s, there’s this like full loyalty between employer, employee. It’s not true. It’s an entity and your person, there is no loyalty. Yes, you can. You can work at a place for a long time. But I think now we’re starting to realize people are starting to realize that this false identity of loyalty to one employer while they treat you badly, isn’t real.

And that is what you’re starting to see across the country. 

Chuck: At his very core. Being an employee is a transactional relationship. And that’s what it should be. There’s there’s look and it’s fine to like where you work. That’s good. That’s great. You know, 

Big John: that’s great. It is just transactional. And if you love where you work and your, and you want to stay there, that’s great.

That’s the point that I’m trying to make is that you should be working at a place like that, that values you, and then you can reciprocate that value. However, if they’re not. People now are starting to learn that they can take their value. Elsewhere, and which 

Chuck: is fantastic. Cause that’s how it should be.

There has to be a balance because for too long, the corporations and the employers are not necessarily mutually exclusive have had all the power and have had all the leverage. And it’s because your livelihood relies on this and you can’t afford to quit your job. That’s why collective action like strikes are so important and so essential.

And it’s essential that everybody be part of it. Yeah. So that was Cabell Huntington. I don’t, there’s not a lot of details that we want to really talk about right now because it’s just getting going. And there’s not a lot of details that have been made public or that we can talk about, but there’s another strike that’s happening.

That’s been happening for a while in the same town of Huntington, West Virginia, it’s special metals, special metals is the largest nickel alloy plant in the world owned by you betcha a billionaire Warren buffet who everybody loves this. That he wants to be taxed more. We’ll tax him more, but also don’t let him off the hook for bullshit.

 Special metals produces owl is critical to military jet engines, commercial aircraft, deep sea oil rigs, et cetera. Just to give you a little bit of context there, it’s very important business. Very important workers, 450 of them began striking October 1st. So it’s been over a month. 37 38 days at this point 39, I can’t do math.

 After the unit have failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement and on day 30 S sorry. And as of today, there’s no end in sight. And so the members of the United steelworkers, local 40 are trying to negotiate a new contract and trying to negotiate better benefits, but they’re not seeing any give from the employer from what we can tell That just in Huntington, west, Virginia, John, if you’re keeping track, that’s at least 1,450 people on strike.

Big John: Incredible. That’s incredible. That’s a lot. Yeah. Holy crap. 

Chuck: I ain’t done ain’t that big? 

Big John: No, it’s not. That’s the thing like, and the weird thing is to Huntington. Actually I just saw. Just so mayor Williams, isn’t his name? Yeah, I think it is like a month or Steve Williams with like like a month or two ago.

And he was talking about how much progress Huntington has made. And it’s true. Like Huntington has made a ton of progress, like from where it was six years ago, four years ago to where it is now. It’s great. Like in terms of what they’ve been able to do, however, we’re now still seeing. And Huntington can’t control this, but when things like this happen, especially in West Virginia and in bigger cities in West Virginia, we have seen the ability for these employees to have a mass Exodus to go elsewhere.

And then West Virginia, that city Huntington, for instance, loses population and doesn’t regain it. If you think I’m bullshitting, you go look up any time Huntington’s numbers or Charleston’s numbers or Parkersburg numbers have fallen and look at the correlation between what has happened with a specific employer, specifically a big one it’s things like that.

So these are not just bad for the company or just bad for the people working there. It’s bad for the community in general. That’s what I think makes me so angry about this stuff is that these companies don’t care about their employers or don’t don’t care about their employees. They also don’t care about the communities that they are.

Chuck: Yeah, hell. I mean, it’s easy for somebody to just, you know, go across the river, get another job somewhere in Kentucky at this point. And it’s true there in Huntington. I’m just looking at this. I did not realize this at all, but this is wild. Their population has been in decline since 1960s, 

Big John: man. It’s almost like 

Chuck: I’m right.

 They had a population of 83,000. No, sir, excuse me. Since the fifties, they had a population of 86,000 in 1950, and it is down to 46,000 from the night from the 2020 census. That is wild TAF and they lost half their population and 60, 70 years. Ooh, boy, that’s tough. That is. Well, okay. So I wanted to get out of West Virginia for this last strike.

 Cause I thought this is pretty important. And then we’ll, we’ll kind of talk about what this all means. So the Erie Strayer company in Erie, Pennsylvania, PA, we’re going to PA right now, Erie Strayer, they supply concrete batching equipment to construction ready-mix companies extremely important, especially right now.

When you think about the supply chain issues and the construction delays right now, it’s a hugely important. A little bit smaller, but have a workforce that’s on strike, but equally important. 42 union workers walked off the job on October four. So what over a month, this is why I wanted to bring this up because we got some details about the contract negotiation on this.

And and it’s ridiculous. So John, the union, and this is not. At all unusual, the union propose a three-year contract that would provide raises of 60 cents an hour in the first year, followed by 50 cent raises in the next two years, as well as a dental plan and back pay. I think from April for a reason, which wasn’t.

Immediately clear. Anyway, the focus being on the, on the, the wage raises 60 cents and then 50 cents, like that’s a decent raise, but it’s really not that much when you consider how like inflation has fluctuated over the years. And so the company, of course, John instead of accepting that countered with 5 cents and then 15 cents the next year,

That’s just, that is just insulting. That is insulting. Yeah. There’s no other word for it. Crap. That, and that is why people strike a hundred percent and 

Big John: guess what? The people who are against unions, one of the one, they don’t really actually understand unions and to. They tend to be people who own companies.

And do you want to know why? Because unions terrify employers. Why? Because it allows employees to be on a closer step in terms of a power dynamic. And they hate that. They hate, they hate the ability to negotiate. They hate that they have the ability to ask for better things. They hate that they have to treat people, right.

They just hate it. That’s why unions are so important. And that is why. You’re going to continue to see a union. I think a big union movement in terms of organizations. Yes. There’s going to be several that are blocked. We see that we’ve saw that with Amazon, we’re going to see it with other major companies.

However, you’re going to see more unions in places that you don’t normally think of. That’s my projection going into 2022 and into 2023 and 2024. You are going to start seeing more workers band together, create unions and create change. I’m calling. 

Chuck: I, and I even think that Amazon, I think they’re eventually going to be able to get a union vote because since they had the vote and Bessemer, that, that ended up failing one, I believe they’re researching a, another effort and it’s backed by the Teamsters this time the Teamsters are putting in a lot of money and resources into it, and they’re a very powerful union.

And I think to bookend your point, that there is going to be. An uptick in union membership. And I think an uptick in union power, which I think will ultimately be a really good thing. I hope. And I hope that we see that. I think we’re starting to see it right now. And unions are starting to get more money and more membership, which is really good.

 They just have to manage that growth, which is always, you know, it’s difficulty, but I’m sure that that. One last thing on the Erie straight, then we can move into sort of discussion here. I did want to put this quote in here because it’s really emblematic of pretty much every employee. And it’s definitely reminds me of my dad and the people that he worked with.

 This, a sentiment that they have this guy, Phil brown, 59 years old, worked at the . Still works there for 36 years currently a pre prefabrication prefabrication group leader. Not sure what that is, but sounds important. Said, quote, I thought I would retire out of this place, but it doesn’t look like it right now.

They’re telling me my coworkers were not worth a damn nickel to them. And that was literal, like literally don’t work 

Big John: literal, literal, literal. Yeah. 

Chuck: Yeah, so that’s, it’s shameful. It really is. One other thing that’s shameful is the lack of attention being brought to these strikes, particularly on people in power, such as our elected officials, John, most of them, at least most in the United States Senate have been completely quiet about this.

I will give credit a little bit here. I want to give credit to John Fetterman. Who’s running for United States, Senate, Lieutenant, governor of Pennsylvania. He actually went to the Erie share company picket line. Went and visited the workers there, shared brown, a friend of the show share brownie nights, sit Senator from Ohio, him and Tim Ryan.

 Other, other friend of the show have visited numerous strikes throughout Ohio that have been happening so credit to them. If there’s others that I missed, please let me know, but we need more elected representatives, particularly hint, hint Democrats. Cause you say you’re the party of the working class of fucking.

That is a fuck I’m keeping in by showing up for these people, cause take the hint. This is a huge movement and there’s obviously something happening in the bluest parts of the country, to the reddest parts of the country. Something is happening. And from what I can tell, especially at the national.

They ain’t giving him shit for attention. Yeah. 

Big John: I mean, no, no one is that’s that’s the thing is like, like Democrats have run on this where pro worker you know, agenda for 50 years now and continue to prove that they don’t, they they’re exactly. What they say, they’re not, they’re not pro workers. They’re they’re pro company.

They’re pro big business. They always have been, they always will be until there’s a massive change. The only difference right now between Democrats and Republicans is that they sit on different sides of the aisle. That’s it? They don’t, they’re not proving a huge difference when it comes to unions.

They’re just not, and they’re not going. Now. You do have, you do have some John Fetterman, obviously you’re seeing a Charles Booker is going to go out there. He’s going to talk to people, Tim, Ryan, but. We need to see real, real change, not just going and shaking hands. That’s great. Right. But there has to be action with it too.

So I look forward to seeing these guys, these politicians go out, shake hands, kiss babies, do whatever they have to do. Hopefully not kiss babies COVID but I also want to see that. Create a real plan to fix some of these issues before they’re even elected. I want to see it because that’s what, that’s what real politicians.

Chuck: They should, and they should do things like pass the act that actually empowers workers and, and gives them a stake at the table. They should be doing things that actually makes a difference for workers. And is there are some that are trying to, I mean, the social spending bill would be a very pro worker, pro family bill in its essence, who knows what the hell is going to end up passing if anything.

But I think that’s the thing is like, you can give all the lip service you want. But lip service is only one thing and that’s lip service. If it’s not matched with action, that’s not where shit. All right. And there are some people out there doing something they’re at least showing their faces, which is good.

 And look, I mean we will criticize any politician, no matter how much we like them, or we respect them. But there are some out there that are doing more and I think they’re taking the hint. Look. I, I think that people like Tim, Ryan, they’re taking this in, I’ve seen a huge uptick from him. On his social media, where he’s going out to these different strike sites and meeting with workers and tweeting about it and posting about it and talking about it and doing events about it and doing press clips about it.

And that’s good. That’s exactly what, what anybody who says they’re for the working class should do, because if you’re S if you say you’re for the working class, but you’re not showing up for these words. Then you’re not, I’m just, that’s just, it, it is actually that simple. I know that I say on this show all the time, that most things in life, aren’t that simple, that there’s some nuance that there’s some, some, some complex things to this, but for something like this, it’s that simple.

Big John: That’s, I mean, the proof is in the proof is in the pudding and right now, The Democrats ain’t gotten open, 

Chuck: no pudding, no pudding, but you know, it’s very easy for them to get some pudding. If they just go to the store and the store being the workers. There you go. Also tired metaphor is union. Yeah. It should be a UFC w store United food and commercial workers.

Don’t go to those non union stores. That’s right. Seventh street Kroger. That’s right. Yeah. Or, or the Harris Teeter on on rest and boom, there you go. Well I think that’s where we’ll probably end it. I mean, I think we’ve said what we need to say. Right? You think. Yup. Yup. Yup. Yup. It’s a great lead into our next segment in our last segment, the one that we’ve done pretty much every single show, probably 106 times at this point, the beef segment, they call them the big bird of beef.

How’s that for alliteration much like the bright yellow anthropomorphic bird. He too has been the subject of right wing screeds for simply being a good public servant. He’s come prepared with a booster shot of beef for you to take straight to the vein beef with big John. I didn’t even know about your booster shot.

When I wrote that, 

Big John: I know that was that’s pretty good. Like in terms of, of being 

Chuck: able to put that in the amount of bees in that, like, if you bothered by back about the drill, a boy, big Johnston Fisher, brother rules, that’s big deal. Got your mouthful. And steal y’all want some deeper, big John, but at the same time, don’t you before big John trying to be the man that you see when his time open up.

Why the legalist guy before big John Egypt, before John, John. Beautiful 

Big John: about this for a little while. And I wanted to talk about it. Cause I already talked about it a little bit in the show. This. And again this is something that I used to be guilty of, but I’ve made sure that I’m not anymore. And that is once again in the news, Chuck, no matter what happens when Joe Manchin or it really ran Paul or McConnell, or anybody’s in the news for something that specifically something that people on the left disagree with it automatically.

Becomes more than that person’s opinion in terms of Joe Manchin or Rand Paul or Mitch McConnell, it becomes now everybody who lives in Appalachia has to agree with what Joe Manchin does. So they stopped blaming Joe Manchin. They start blaming an entire region of people. They stop blaming Mitch McConnell.

They start blaming it, Kentucky. This continues to happen. And I don’t. Here’s what makes me so angry about it. You don’t see. Anywhere else, right? There are times when yes, California gets grouped as liberal or New York, but you don’t see this automatic movement from blaming a politician to hunting down every person that lives in that region.

It’s Appalachia specific. And it’s so, so old by now. I don’t understand why this continues to keep happening. And the big thing is. The majority of it is happening from the left. The left is honestly the most vicious about it, which to me is fear infuriating because the entire time that the left should be trying to come into Appalachia.

You know, we’re with you. We, we agree with, you know, certain things. This is how we really feel and try to win people over, but that’s not the less policy anymore. And that’s, what’s upsetting me. They come in and instead yell and scream and say how dumb the person is for voting for a certain person. And that’s not how you’re going to get people to join your movement.

It’s just 

Chuck: not. Oh, it’s not shit. I have to refile. Fuck. I got to stop telling people to go fuck themselves and vote like me because I know things cause I live in San Francisco. 

Big John: Yeah. I mean, it’s just one of those things that doesn’t win. And in fact that causes any good camp. In that area to lose automatically because they no longer care what that, what that person actually said or what they stand for.

They just know the letter next to their name and they know how bad you treated them. So they are no longer a viable candidate. So in fact, not only doing, you’re doing a disservice to the party, you’re doing a disservice to anybody that actually wants to make change in Appalachia. It’s just true. It’s your fault.

Stop doing these things. I don’t care if you live in Appalachia or you live outside of it. Just make these massive assumptions that only hurt people in the region. You don’t win by doing that. And I understand that the left is extremely frustrated where that Appalachia is to it is we are to everyone who doesn’t agree with what’s happening is extremely frustrated, but it’s, it’s kind of like, I guess the best way to put it is it’s kind of like kickball, right?

In order to become the pitcher. You didn’t punch your gym teacher, 

Chuck: speak for yourself. 

Big John: I didn’t punch 

Chuck: my gym teacher. I established dominance. Go ahead. 

Big John: I waited my turn. I asked, I was able to then become pitcher. I did it the right way. All right. That’s not what this going on. Right. They just come in and punch right now, the left.

That’s not how that works. You have to establish the ability to one, understand the people you’re talking to because I guarantee a lot of them don’t and you then have to create a narrative that you can actually have a discussion about rather than screaming or posting in all caps and blaming, you know, Posting these really stereotypical things, because I can promise you this.

You’re going to just continue to lose people and they’re going to be salty. You’re never going to get the region back and it is forever going to be the fault of those people. 

Chuck: I know I’ve said this twice already on the show, but if your opinion is simple enough to fit into a tweet, when it’s about a region like Appalachia, then that’s the wrong.

It’s not, it’s bullshit. Things are more complicated than one United States Senator from West Virginia. All right. That’s or from Kentucky 

Big John: or 

Chuck: from dead, right? It doesn’t matter where they’re from my point being. Like people do this. Not because I, this is my opinion, but I think people do that. Not a lot of times, not because they actually think that, but because they it’s, it’s a performance, social media is a performance for most people and it’s performative.

And they know that if I do something like this and I say, well, fuck you a mansion, blah, blah, blah. It’s all about Appalachia. These stupid hillbillies. Then I’ll get some likes and retweets and maybe it will help me get subscribers to my news. And that’s that, but that’s what people think. And honestly, the sad part is it works and we have, we have 

Big John: to 

Chuck: is a hundred percent, right.

It works. All right. And like, like, look, we, we know that. And that’s kind of, one of the things that’s changed. Most sporting thing, but it’s one of them because it’s just more complicated than that. And it’s like, come to the region, you’ll find out it’s way more complicated. There’s also a lot of people here that aren’t happy at all.

Big John: I’m sure I’ve had a beef similar to this. Actually. I know I have, because I can remember saying some of these things, but it needs to be said again, because as we continue to kind of move closer, especially to that 20, 22 election, these are going to continue happening and no matter what you may think.

About an area I could tell you, it’s far more complicated than that. That’s not how this works. So just give it a chance. That’s all I’m saying. 

Chuck: And listen, don’t talk. Don’t tweet. Just listen. Preferably does. J K plug. Yeah, that’s going to be a Hardy beef one. The, you know, you gotta, you gotta cook it for a while, but it goes down well paired with a nice wine, which may be what I’ll get after this.

And I have to edit this, but that being said thank you for that. Thank you all for listening. And we will, we’ll talk to you next week.

app on Lasha is a product of 18 Husky media. The views expressed on this show are solely that of the co-host Chuck Cora, big John ICER, and are not representative of either one of our employers.

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