Union Workers Urge Manchin To Pass Key Bill In West Virginia Ad Blitz

A labor group on Tuesday launched an ad blitz across West Virginia featuring union workers urging Democratic Senator Joe Manchin to back legislation he has opposed for months to help sick coal miners and revive manufacturing in the beleaguered coal-reliant state.

The TV and digital ad campaign comes as Manchin signaled last week he is open to passing a scaled back version of Build Back Better, a major clean energy and social spending budget bill, if it can lower the deficit and as long as new programs are permanently funded.

Manchin had blocked the passage of the $1.75 trillion budget bill late last year after months of negotiations with Democratic President Joe Biden and other Democrats, citing concerns about the deficit and inflation. This prompted criticism from his longtime ally the United Mineworkers Association, which warned that the move harmed its members.

The ads feature union members and leaders who speak directly to Manchin, who holds a key swing vote in a divided Senate, asking him to lift his opposition to legislation that is central to the Biden administration's policy agenda.


WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters)

"Senator, my friend, we need you back at the table," says Dave, a member of the United Steelworkers Union Local 5668 chapter, directly to Manchin in one of the ads, saying the bill will "jump-start our state."

Manchin's office did not respond to a request for comment.

The bill would have provided billions to tackle climate change, fund universal preschool and other social safety nets, as well as create tax incentives to persuade manufacturers to build new factories and employ former miners and support coal miners grappling with black lung disease.

In another ad, the elderly widow of a coal miner who died of black lung called Dianna pleads with Manchin to pass the bill, which she says supports victims of the disease and brings more union jobs to West Virginia.

“Union members in West Virginia understand the need for a strong budget reconciliation bill," said Jason Walsh, executive director for the BlueGreen Alliance. The alliance, a coalition of environmental and labor groups, funded the ad campaign, with Walsh said cost $350,000.

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