CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia AFL-CIO says it wants Gov. Joe Manchin to appoint himself to the late Robert C. Byrd's seat in the U.S. Senate, but the list of those calling for voters to pick a replacement is growing.
The union on Tuesday released a resolution its executive board passed last Wednesday, asking the governor to appoint himself to the post "as soon as possible following the [burial] of Senator Byrd next to his dear wife Erma."
Byrd, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of Congress in history, died last week at age 92. He was buried Tuesday in Arlington, Va.
A Manchin spokeswoman repeated Tuesday that the governor would not appoint himself to Byrd's seat.
Manchin is scheduled to answer reporters' questions about the succession process Wednesday. According to a news advisory issued Tuesday evening, the governor will not announce an appointment, but "plans to discuss the process and answer questions related to the matter."
The union's resolution says "political maneuvering and winning the next election are considered more important to conservatives than statesmanship or promoting public policy for the greater good of our Nation."
"At this critical point in our political history, the minority party can dictate to the majority party legislation that gets to the floor, unfortunately," said Larry Matheney the West Virginia AFL-CIO's secretary-treasurer. "And every vote is so critical."
That includes federal legislation to extend unemployment benefits, he said. Senate Republicans have repeatedly blocked the measure.
Matheney said the union waited until this week to release the resolution, "out of respect for Sen. Byrd."
He acknowledged that labor leaders don't always see eye to eye with Manchin. The West Virginia Federation of Teachers, an AFL-CIO affiliate, has frequently criticized the governor.
But Matheney said union officials and the governor work well together "when it comes to big issues."
The resolution says Byrd's replacement should keep the late senator's ideals alive -- and should be a "person of vision, respectful of the Constitution, [who] understands the power and legislative duties of the Senate while having an unquestionable love of West Virginia" and its people.