AFT-WV Political Candidate Endorsement Process

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AFT-WV, as a member of the WV AFL-CIO, participates the the AFL-CIO's endorsement process. This process begins with the local AFL-CIO labor councils, who interview and vote on endorsement actions to present to the state AFL-CIO COPE Committee.

Click here for a timeline of the AFL-CIO COPE process and meetings. 

AFT-WV's guidelines for endorsing political candidates is set by the bylaws portion of the AFT-WV Constitution and Bylaws. 

Below is the section of the bylaws that govern the Committee on Political Education:


ARTICLE II                    COMMITTEES



A.        The AFT-West Virginia Committee on Political Education (AFT-West Virginia COPE) shall conduct the political education of AFT-West Virginia as set forth in the rules and regulations devised by the AFT-West Virginia executive board and approved by a regular or special convention of AFT-West Virginia.

B.        The AFT-West Virginia representative to the West Virginia AFL-CIO COPE shall be the AFT-West Virginia president or his/her designee.



1.         The AFT-West Virginia Committee on Political Education is committed to the support of honest, sincere, qualified, progressive candidates who, by their actions, have demonstrated their support of the public interest and general welfare--objectives to which AFT-West Virginia is dedicated.  In the making of endorsements, the capability, intelligence, unqualified integrity and the past record of the individual shall be employed as criteria for endorsement.

2.         These criteria shall not be waived because of a candidate’s membership or non-membership in a union affiliated with the AFL-CIO or AFT.  Candidates who are AFL-CIO or AFT union members and who desire COPE endorsement should meet the same high standards required of non-member candidates and shall be required to follow the same procedure in seeking COPE endorsement.

3.         Membership in an affiliated union by a candidate in no way implies a COPE endorsement, nor shall such membership entitle him/her to preferential treatment in the consideration of candidates for endorsements.

4.         Endorsements, if any, shall be made pursuant to the following rules:

(a)        The AFT-West Virginia COPE shall attempt to concur with any endorsements made by the National AFT of candidates for President or Vice President of the United States.

(b)        The AFT-West Virginia COPE shall submit its recommendations, in both Primary and General Elections, for endorsements of candidates for United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, all other state-wide offices and for State Senate and House of Delegates to a Constitutional or Special Convention of AFT-West Virginia for final action; provided, however, if such a Convention is not feasible during the appropriate time for endorsements, the AFT-West Virginia COPE is authorized to endorse such candidates.  All final action to support or oppose candidates or ballot issues, whether by the Convention or by the AFT-West Virginia COPE when acting for AFT-West Virginia, shall require a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the votes cast.  In the absence of a two-thirds (2/3) majority, either to support or oppose, AFT-West Virginia shall be neutral.  Provided, further, such recommendations or endorsements of Congressional candidates shall be made only after full consideration of all information available from AFT COPE and, of candidates for state or national offices NOT TO EXCEED THE NUMBER TO BE NOMINATED OR ELECTED, following consideration of recommendations of the appropriate local COPE.

(c)        Endorsements of candidates for county (other than House of Delegates) and/or municipal offices, if any, shall be made by the respective local COPEs.

(d)        Endorsements should be made at the earliest possible date following filing deadline of candidates for Primary and General elections to ensure maximum time to mobilize membership and other support of COPE-endorsed candidates.


5.         The AFT-West Virginia COPE Executive Committee shall act as a screening subcommittee to ascertain, through interviews, questionnaires and/or compilation of previous voting records, whether candidates for Congress, state-wide offices (including Governor and Board of Public Works) and other legislative offices (State Senate and House of Delegates) are acceptable according to COPE policies.  All such information concerning candidates shall be made available to the full Committee and, in the case of legislative offices, to the appropriate local COPE (or COPEs) prior to recommendations for final endorsement action as provided in this article.


6.         No COPE officer or Committee member shall act in any official COPE capacity whatsoever on behalf of any political candidate who has been refused COPE endorsement or who is a candidate in opposition to a COPE-endorsed candidate in a Primary or General election.  Upon violation of this section, the AFT-West Virginia COPE shall take appropriate action to expel, suspend, censure or otherwise penalize the offender.


7.         AFT-West Virginia endorsements shall not be binding upon any affiliated local or local COPE.  AFT-West Virginia COPE shall not interfere with a local COPE endorsement of candidates nor infringe upon any local COPE’s right to disagree with an AFT-West Virginia endorsed candidate.