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Season 5, Episode 28

Infrastructure bill creating hundreds of projects in West Virginia



Guest Name:

Kelly Dierkes

Guest Website:


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Supportive Documents:

President and Business agent from Iron Workers Local 549, Kelly Dierkes, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the amount of bridge work coming into the Northern Appalachia region from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Dierkes also discussed the importance of educating the public on unions and provided updates on legislation that could impact unions in West Virginia.

Iron Workers Local 549 in Wheeling, W.Va., has 360 active members. Their jurisdiction includes six counties in Ohio, two counties in Pennsylvania and 13 counties in W.Va. Work has been consistent over the past year, with a large number of work coming from the bridges within the region. Nearly 200 projected bridge jobs in Local 549’s region are coming over the next few years thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Dierkes discussed why educating the public on the protections and goals of unions will improve the trades in W.Va. Educating and developing the workforce in their region is the start of Dierkes’ outreach to the local community. To ensure this happens, West Virginia. House Bill 5200 would create a link between public school counselors making connections with unions and the trades. Dierkes believes that with proper education, this bill would provide an alternative path into the trades for students who don’t seek a college education. 

West Virginia Senate Bill 156 is bad news for workers in the state, Dierkes said. This bill would conceal public construction payroll documents from the public view, something Dierkes said would allow unauthorized workers to be allowed on job sites. He talked about the potential for more worker misclassification with this bill. The bill was previously proposed in the last eight legislative sessions and has been defeated each time, Dierkes said.

Listen to the show above to hear more about Iron Workers Local 549.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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