UMWA in Action
Hobet shutdown a "tragedy that can be stopped."
August 13, 2008
For immediate release?:
United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:
â€œThe news that Patriot Coal has issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice that layoffs of hourly workers will begin soon at the Hobet Mine in Boone and Lincoln counties comes as a heavy blow to the over 350 UMWA members who work there and their families.
â€œOnce again, their jobs have been put on the chopping block through no fault of their own,â€ Roberts said. â€œThese dedicated and hard-working coal miners are doing their best to provide for their families and keep their communities economically viable. Yet today, their reward for doing all the right things appears to be unemployment. There is something fundamentally wrong with this picture.
â€œWest Virginia needs these jobs,â€ Roberts said. â€œBoone and Lincoln counties need these jobs. The economic impact on the economies of those two counties will be swift and devastating. Stores, gas stations and restaurants will be threatened. Other business will be squeezed, causing layoffs to ripple through the coalfield communities. The impact on the budgets for schools and other essential services the local governments provide will likewise be severe. The jobs of teachers and government workers will be put at risk.
â€œThe UMWA is not going to stand idly by and watch all that happen,â€ Roberts said. â€œWe have repeatedly said that we will do whatever we need to do to preserve our membersâ€™ jobs, no matter where they work. Thatâ€™s what weâ€™re going to do at Hobet.
â€œWe have and will continue to support all efforts to defend the jobs at Hobet through the legal process and elsewhere,â€ Roberts said. â€œWe will fight to defend our membersâ€™ livelihoods. We are prepared to work with whoever we need to work with to save these jobs.
â€œThis is a tragedy that can be stopped,â€ Roberts said. â€œBefore we go down a road from which there is no return, we call on all involved to think of the full range of economic and social devastation that is looming here. There must be a solution that can be found other than the annihilation of these jobs and the destruction of lives and communities that is sure to follow.â€
United Mine Workers