The steel industry is gone. Century Aluminum is sitting idle.
Don't get me wrong. Americans have a rock-solid right to freedom of association, and in some industries, if unions didn't exist, you'd have to invent them.
But the Democratic Party's alliance with shortsighted labor leadership hasn't produced for workers or the population, and now threatens the party itself.
Big Labor jumped in the bag for Barack Obama immediately, handing him millions of its members' money with the expectation of receiving political favors.
And what did the rank and file get for their money?
Well, the UMWA got EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and the administration's war on coal.
Did all rank-and-file union members in this state vote for the Democratic presidential candidate in the last three cycles?
Could they be impatient with state Democrats' lack of results, too?
In West Virginia, they got poverty.
Republican Bill Maloney came within 7,000 votes of beating pro-growth Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin, just a few months ago.
Labor seems unable to adjust to the fact that industry isn't the people's enemy anymore.
State Democrats should not make the same mistake.
The Legislature should pass a shale bill that makes this state competitive with Ohio and Pennsylvania - period - lest it weaken the most important alliance of all, the one with voters.
There is only one set of fingerprints on 49th in per capita income - Democrats' - and West Virginians know it.
Again, don't get me wrong. I do not hate unions. I just think working people deserve results, and West Virginians aren't getting them.
It's time they did.
Maurice is editorial page editor of the Daily Mail. She may be reached at 348-4802 or ha...@dailymail.com.