WVAFL-CIO ads pulled, exploring legal options

By Kyla Asbury | Dec 15, 2015

CHARLESTON – After the West Virginia AFL-CIO’s “Right to Work” ads were pulled from the radio without explanation, the organization is exploring its legal options.

Three paid advertisements providing facts and information surrounding the “Right to Work” law currently being pushed by legislative leadership and urging listeners to tell their legislators that right-to-work is wrong for West Virginia were pulled from radio stations in West Virginia by West Virginia Radio Corporation.

WVAFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue said since WVRC’s choice to pull the “Right to Work” is Wrong for West Virginia ads off the air without explanation was mentioned in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, they have received a lot of questions.

“I am at a loss to explain it, but absent any response from the company other than a one-sentence email that said the ads are ‘inflammatory,’ I have to assume the decision was handed down by top management of the West Virginia Radio Corporation, which is headed by Chairman John Raese, a wealthy Republican politician who has long advocated for a ‘Right to Work’ law,” Perdue said.

The ads ran statewide for about one week before WVRC General Manager Joe Parsons contacted Laura Phillips, the owner of Phillips Group, which is a public relations and advertising firm that placed the ads for WVAFL-CIO.

Parsons informed Phillips that corporate had deemed the ads too controversial and that they were being pulled from the air.

“If the company executives had some question about the content of the ads, they should have contacted us – that’s the normal practice in communications advertising,” Perdue said. “Instead, the company started running the ads, then after about a week of airing them, suddenly ‘declined’ to run all three of them.”

Perdue said he thinks it is very odd.

Perdue said he is in discussions with the West Virginia AFL-CIO’s attorney about the possibility of seeking a legal remedy.

“Out-of-state corporations and interest groups are pouring money into paid advertisements in West Virginia that promote a ‘Right to Work’ law by spreading misinformation, and they are contributing thousands to the politicians who will support it,” Perdue said. “We’re working to get the truth out there through our own advertisements, exercising our free speech rights, and we’re effectively banned from the airwaves in a major portion of the state.”

Each of WVAFL-CIO’s ads touched on three different aspects of “Right to Work,” including that there is a 54 percent increase in workplace injury and death in states with “Right to Work” laws, that wages are lower in right to work states and that such a law is government interference in employer-employee negotiations,

The WVAFL-CIO said the statistics in the ads were derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other economic studies.

The ads are still running on stations statewide that are outside WVRC’s network.

To hear the ads, go to www.wvaflcio.org/right-to-work.html.

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