CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State employees rallied at the capitol Monday calling for lawmakers to increase their pay, stop mandatory overtime and provide better benefits. They used their President’s Day holiday to travel from all over the state.

“Who are we? UE! Who are we? UE!” workers chanted in the rotunda of the capitol. Chris Wolford, the vice president of West Virginia Public Union Workers Local 170, said the group is raising concerns about a number of job aspects.

“It’s an ongoing situation, not only low pay but high caseloads for DHHR workers, hazardous working conditions for the people in the state institutions, long hours, for instance, for snow plow drivers,” Wolford said.

Louise Quinn, who works in the kitchen at Sharpe Hospital in Lewis County, held up a sign that read, “Stop the attacks on mental health workers.”

She said the mandatory overtime policy is draining.

“I have to be there sometimes from 6 in the morning to 8 at night,” she explained. “It takes a big chunk out of your life when they expect you to come in and fill in on your days off.

“I make $8.67 an hour and I’ve been there almost 10 years!”

The low pay is a constant concern. Wolford said a good example of how concerning is DOH employees, especially those who drive snow plows. He explained they are leaving in record numbers to go to work in the oil and gas industry. That’s because they can more than double their salary and improve their hours.

Wolford stressed whether it’s a snow plow driver or a caseworker at DHHR, low pay is hurting everyone. The employees often don’t stay long and it costs more to hire and retrain a new employee than it would to give seasoned workers a raise.

“To keep pay at such a low rate, it just doesn’t make sense,” Wolford said.

bubble graphic

42

bubble graphic

Comments

  • Tim

    I no lots of guys work for the doh they only make 10.80 hour and they run all different type of equipment and if u would pay someone esle they would charge the state 20 to 40 dollars hour and I the state works should be making at least 12 hours for all they have to do they got a dangers job work on the interstates while cars and truck going by 70 mph and even slowing down if was for them u would get to school work or to store or home

  • dog

    Totally agree with you on DOH. The saddest point is that the DOH treats their employees like crap more than the public. We get very well qualified applicants and do interviews then send that persons name to personnel for hiring and politics kick back best person and makes us hire someones relative or friend.

  • gel

    Just because an individual pays taxes does not mean you pay the wages of a state employee and I am talking a DOH employee. Only if you purchase your gas in West Virginia then you are paying the wages of a DOH employee. I have worked for the DOH for 16 years now being paid low wages and just because I have a retirement plan doesn't mean I will draw much from it when I retire as it is based up on wages and when you don't receive any raises for years and are not allowed to work any overtime it doesn't help increase your retirement. Over the years I have been cussed and screamed at by ungrateful public citizens only now and then do you get anyone who is appreciative of what we do. I chose this job to be able to raise my family in West Virginia and because I liked my job, but with the low pay and the political crap that goes on I can not wait to retire or find a new job.

    • WVU1

      Your world is not any different from anyone else working in a service industry. Low pay, no overtime, and ungrateful customers are the norm.

  • WVU1

    These are the same people who will complain that taxes are raised in order to get that raise they want....and they still won't work and the services they provide will still be substandard.

  • workerbee

    Nero fiddled while Rome burned

  • rick

    For you younger folks who don't remember when the State did a lot more in house stuff at much cheaper prices. The DOH used to crush it's own gravel and make it's own hot mix, etc. It was much cheaper than contractors. The State had a great hospital system that employed a lot of people and kept patients chose to home. The system worked well but it was hard for polititicians to game the system when things were done in house. Most State employees are vastly underpaid for the qualifications they must have. They do the job because they enjoy serving the citizens of WV but they pay the same prices for cars, groceries, etc as everyone else.

    • the truth

      Manchin sold all the equipment off. I would like to know how many "political" donations he got from the contractors.

  • Bill Hill

    Lack of the ability to better one's self was the final straw for me. I retired. I got tired of being a pawn for politicians and a punching bag for the public.

    I agree with many that giving raises for living another year is silly. What I don't agree with is the fact one can't improve their situation or if one takes on more responsibility their salary stays the same. I watched for many years as the Department of Personal denied individual increase after increase simply so they could look good to their supervision, the legislature, and governor. I watch as former governor Manchin and present governor Tomblin denied the ability of Department heads to increase a worker's salary when the worker preformed well or took on additional responsibility.

    Further, I got completely fed up with an ignorant public that lacked the guts to say anything to the very politicians they ran out and voted for, but had no problem treating me and my peers like second class citizens simply because we worked for the state. I have had things said to me by the public that I wouldn't say to a my worst enemy.

    After 33 years I got tired of the whole mess. Yes, I had good benefits, but I paid for them with a lower salary and the inability to advance myself. Also for your information I paid for my retirement out of my salary. I dealt with management that looked good on paper but couldn't scratch their behind with a handful of fish hooks.

    Yes, this is the profession I chose and I went into it with my eyes open. I stuck with it because this is where I chose to live and raise my family. However, none of that excuses the actions of both the politicians and a number of the public. Thus when the opportunity presented itself, I retired.

    • the truth

      I see people leaving old hands like yourself at the first chance and new people after they get experience. good for you to escape the madness.

  • Myron

    Hoping this demonstration does not have a negative impact on propose dwell-deserved teacher raises.

    • the truth

      I doubt you are a teacher. You are just a troll who likes to make posts that get people all worked up.

  • Independent View

    Suggestion to State Employees, shed your present union and align with the teachers' unions. They get nice increases year after year and even in tough economic times!

  • Crystal

    WE PAY TAXES ALSO.

    • Aaron

      Your point is?

  • Tim D.

    Cry me a river. At least these people have a job...unlike millions of other Americans.

  • James

    #12 highest paid governor in WV, high ranking in legislative pay, senate and house pay raises to staff. public and private pay rates ranked last in the country.
    Does anyone else get the picture here, with a bill currently moving to give county elected officials substantial raises with built in cost of living raises in the future.

    As long as the trough is full for the politicos, the rest of us can get by the best we can.

  • Brian

    The USA and WV would be better off with less government and fewer employees. But politicians won't allow it because it wouldn't be self serving. Some jobs can be privatized such as education. Teacher raises? Two words-charter schools. But safe environment and security? We're not getting either to an acceptable standard now. Politically appointed contractors that are owned wholly or in part by politicians aren't the answer either - one word - Haliburton. WV State employees need increased pay. The legislature gave themselves in recent session a raise, why not the people who actually carry out the rules they pass? Of course clean water comes from politicians more so than an inspector on every riverbank in WV - geeez what was I thinking !

  • mook

    Privatized or not, low pay is low pay. You can make 9-10 bucks an hour mowing grass!

    • Aaron

      Then they should go elsewhere if they are not happy with their pay. Of course, there that won't have 12+ company paid holidays per year, start out at 15 vacation days and supplement that with 18 sick days for a total of potentially 45 days paid off per year.

      Nor will they have the defined retirement plans, contributions on the level they receive to qualified plans, the health insurance at the price they pay based on their salary or any of the other benefits enjoyed by state workers.

      I'm not trying to bash state workers and I certainly understand their grip over pay but all and all, for the majority of state workers, it's not as bad as they would have the general public believe.

      • the truth

        Aaron,
        The issue is that everyone is leaving. You have turnover that would not exist in the private sector because no company could function with this amount of turnover or the would be bankrupt. I would also suggest you not believe anything on the state website about pay. The only way to get a raise in the last ten years was to job hop. However, with the multiple job freezes you have people just leaving.
        I advocate for a merit based pay system. Tomblin has specifically forbid pay increases based on merit. I save the state over a million dollars a year in my position and my work is dangerous.
        Manchin and Tomblin have run state government into the ground. The Agency I work for misses out on around 80 million dollars a year in funding due to inability to function because of staffing shortages and they lurch from one crisis to another. Repeated attempts to have Tomblin address these issues falls on deaf ears. Penny wise and a pound foolish on his part.
        State government is like any other employer. You have useless employees. I have worked public, private and my own business and have seen useless employees in all of them.
        The benefit package for the state is eroded every year. I would not see any reason why a new hire would stay with the state. Workers accrue sick and annual leave and they have caps on the annual leave.
        The pension is a defined benefit plan that has no growth for inflation. It is not that great and would prefer more of an investment plan instead.

      • John

        Here's the real rule not the incorrect rule that Aaron keeps repeating. If he would actually read or understand what accrual means he'd know that state employees aren't handed all these days right when they sign on. Here is the actual rule from DOP....

        14.3. Annual Leave.
        14.3.a. Amount, Accrual. -- Except as otherwise noted in this rule, each
        permanent, probationary, and provisional employee is eligible to accrue annual leave with pay and benefits. The table below lists the rates of accrual according to the employee's length of service category and the number of hours of annual leave that may be carried
        forward from one calendar year to another. Annual leave is accrued at the end of each pay period or on the last workday for separating employees. It may be prorated for employees
        granted a medical leave of absence or satisfying the conditions for approval of a medical leave of absence in accordance with subdivision 14.8.c. of this rule. Prorated leave is computed in proportion to normal hours worked and/or hours of paid sick and/or annual leave during the pay period based on the proper length of service category. Annual leave cannot be accrued for hours not paid nor for hours worked beyond the normal workweek
        which shall not exceed 40 hours. Provided, however, employees on unpaid leave who are receiving workers’ compensation temporary total disability benefits continue to accrue annual leave while receiving such benefits.

      • John

        That's actually not true. You accrue leave every two weeks. You are not just handed the days your first day on the job. In what you posted from DOP it doesn't say on the first day you're handed 15 vacation days and 18 sick days. Can you read for comprehension? Have you been a state worker when those on here that are or have been are telling you that your supposed facts are wrong? You won't accrue that many days until you've been on the job a full year assuming you haven't used any of your time you accrued during that year. Several new employees have to go off payroll when they are sick or their kids are sick when they first start work for the state because they haven't accrued enough time to take sick or annual leave. I'm not saying all state workers deserve a raise because they don't, but I believe there needs to be a merit based system where you give the employees who do their jobs well a raise. What they pay some of these people is really laughable at best.

      • Crystal

        FIRST OF ALL WE DO NOT START OFF WITH ANY VACATION TIME IT IS EARNED AS WE GO SECOND OF ALL SOME OF US LIKE HELPING PEOPLE EVEN THOUGH IT IS SOMETIMES NOT APPRECIATED I LOVE MY JOB BUT EVERYONE DESERVES A RAISE WE HAVE HAD I BELIEVE 2 SMALL RAISES IN ABOUT TEN YEARS I DON'T BEGRUDGE ANYONE ONE WORKING A PAY RAISE THIS JOB IS DEMANDING WHEN SO MANY WAS OFF DURING THE WATER CRISIS WE WORKED I CARRIED WATER FROM A SPRING TO BATH AND WASH CLOTHES BUT WORKED DON'T BAD MOUTH OR BELITTLE SOMEONE'S JOB YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT WITHOUT US WHERE WOULD MOST WV PEOPLE BE PEOPLE ON WELFARE CAN GET CLOTHES FURNITURE COMPUTERS TOOLS CARS GAS MONEY FOOD HELP WITH UTILITIES AND RENT . BUT PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW OUR JOBS WANT TO PUT US DOWN. APPARENTLY THEY HAVE NEVER HAD TO WORK OR WANT FOR ANYTHING.

        • Joe

          Crystal:

          Two words.....copy editor.

          • Crystal

            OH EXCUSE ME I AM SITTING IN A HOSPITAL ROOM WITH MY SON ON LIFE SUPPORT SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE THIS MAY HAVE CAUSED FOR MY LACK OF GRAMMAR OR SPELLING

      • Ole Sasquatch

        That's telling them like it is. I also can tell you this: government workers or not expected to turn out near the production ( About 1/4 ) as the private sector. So when you talk about hard work you're talking private sector buddy.
        After working in the private sector, the public sector is a damn joke unless you work in the payroll and benefit section. Most public workers will voluntarily tell you this. While the one's in the public sector all their life think they are the hardest workers there ever was. You may not want to hear this but it is the actual truth.

      • shelby

        Also. if you're one of the selected few who work for the WVDA, you can rent one of the state owned houses for $250-300 and have the WV taxpayers foot the bill for all of your utilities. This has and is still going on for the last 30 plus years.

      • TiredInTucker

        Why do so many people on these posts want everyone else to be poor?

        • Aaron

          I don't gripe over what Wal-Mart or McDonalds pay because I do not fund their businesses. I am directly impacted by state employee pay though so this has nothing to do with me wanting anyone to be poor, it has to do with the fact that state employee pay comes from my tax dollars. As a stakeholder, I have a right to be concerned, wouldn't you agree!!!!!

          • Aaron

            I'm not sure what your point is? I don't believe teacher pay raises and state pay raises are the same conversation.

            While I favor a voucher system in which the parent chooses where education dollars are spend for their children, I do not believe teacher salary and pay raises and state salary and pay raises are the same conversation.

            In my humble opinion at least 75% of state jobs could be privatized and save taxpayers millions. If they were, then employees who chose to do so could then run for state office.

            See how I killed 2 birds with 1 stone!!!

          • Dee

            Aaron don't forget that it is your tax dollar paying for the constant teacher raises and the elected officials sure seem to get frequent raises. It is your tax dollar having to retrain new workers because they won't stay in a high stress low paying job. Do you realize also that State Employees, unlike teachers, are not allowed to run for elected office?

      • Brian

        People do go elsewhere for higher pay. 2010 census shows WV as an older population with below average growth. Young workers know to leave WV which is facing facts but then why all the fuss about keeping our kids home in WV? WV needs to pick one or the other.

        • Aaron

          What does young people leaving the state have to do with state employee pay?

          • Aaron

            My information comes directly from the Division of Personnel Employee Benefits web site.

            Vacation
            State employees receive a generous amount of annual or vacation leave based on length of service. The amount of leave an employee may carry forward to the next year also varies by years of service. I know it doesn't print very well but if you go to the site, you can clearly see that state employees start their career with 15 vacation days per year. After 5 years, they go to 18 days, 10 years to 21 days and 15 years they get 24 vacation days per year.

            In addition to your leave, state employees get a defined retirement plan AND a deferred retirement plan in which the state doubles what you put in a 401 (K) plan.

            I like their slogan.

            A Great Place to Live and Work

            Long-time employees of State government know and appreciate the exceptional quality of life in the "Mountain State". Its not perfect by any means, but West Virginia is a beautiful, safe, and forward-looking place to work, grow, and raise a family. You might say its "almost heaven".

            We offer challenging jobs with competitive benefits. But most of all, we offer opportunity. The opportunity to further your career, meet your personal goals, and make a real difference in peoples lives.

            http://www.state.wv.us/admin/personnel/jobs/benefits.htm#vac

            The only thing left for me to wonder is if you're a state employee, how can you not know how many vacation days you get?

          • susanf1218

            Where do you get the idea that publlc employees "start with 15 vacation days/year"?? You are mistaken - employees start earning 8 hours/month (that's one day/month, if you can't figure it out) and after a certain number of years, it increases to 1 1/2 and finally to 2 days/month when you have worked for several years - don't remember the exact amount of time, but I think it is at 10 or 15 years that you begin earning more days vacation.

  • Aaron

    Besides the DOH, how many of these departments could be privatized and save the state millions?

    • joeyjojo

      LOL. What are you, 12? In the real world everytime WV has privatized anything the cost to the state has gone up. DOH is already mostly privatized. Here's a clue: Those aren't state employees building bridges or roads. Those are private contractors. Snow removal and pot hole repair is about all DOH does. And yes, by all means lets privatize DEP. Private industry has done such a bang up job protecting our environment.

    • James

      Aaron, take a gander at the prevailing wage the state pays those private contractors and then tell me how much money the state will save. Go to the state DOL or SOS web sites for the listings.

    • WVU1

      Parks should be.

    • Dee

      You don't think private agencies are going to bill the state big time for services they provide to families in need? There is no free ticket out of this.