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New Pennsylvania mine health and safety legislation historic

July 7, 2008
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United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E Roberts issued the following statement today:

“Gov. Rendell’s signing of the new Pennsylvania mine safety and health legislation will mark July 7 as an historic day for coal miners in the commonwealth for years to come. Pennsylvania coal miners have long deserved the kind of safety and health protections miners in other states have, and for the first time in nearly 50 years they will enjoy those kinds of protections.

    “The UMWA is pleased that an agreement was reached between all parties that allowed this legislation to finally move through the Legislature and get to the governor’s desk. We commend Gov. Rendell, Sen. Richard Kasunic (D-Fayette), House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese (D-Greene), Rep. Bud George (D-Clearfield) and all the other Senators and House members who worked so hard to get this legislation passed.    

    “But passing new legislation and setting up new oversight won’t mean anything if this law is not enforced, and enforced vigorously. There are more than 6,000 coal miners who go to work every day in the state of Pennsylvania who need to know that their government is on their side. The work to convince them of that has just begun.”

    UMWA International Secretary-Treasurer Daniel J. Kane issued the following statement today as well:

    “From the very beginning of the long effort it took to get this legislation to the governor’s desk, the UMWA kept our eyes on one goal—ensuring that any legislation that was passed and signed into law had real teeth, and included provisions that truly enhanced miners’ safety. We were not prepared to support—indeed, we were prepared to actively oppose—any legislation that did not meet that goal.

“It took a while to get there, but we believe the legislation the governor signed today meets our requirements.

    “Once this legislation becomes fully implemented, Pennsylvania miners will have the opportunity to be on par with miners in other states when it comes to protection of their health and safety. Rest assured that our local union safety committees will do their part to ensure the law is implemented to its fullest in mines where the UMWA represents the miners. We will be holding the state agencies charged with enforcing the law accountable for doing their part to implement and enforce it as well.”  

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