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Obama’s demands for improved mine safety good news for all miners

April 15, 2010
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TRIANGLE, VA – United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“President Obama’s statement regarding mine safety today is an unprecedented public stance for an American President to take, and one that is good news for all coal miners in the United States. His commitment to miners’ health and safety is, in my experience, unmatched by any previous President. On behalf of the members of the UMWA and all coal miners and their families, I thank him.

“President Obama hit the nail on the head. The issues surrounding the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine are very troubling, and we need to get to the bottom of what happened there. But we must go further and deal with the larger issue of serial ‘safety violators like Massey’ that must be addressed.  

“I especially applaud President Obama’s determination that miners must have the right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions. UMWA members have that right written into our contracts, but nonunion miners do not have the protection of a contract and are at risk of being fired if they refuse to work in conditions that threaten their lives or their health.

“President Obama has given the Department of Labor and the Mine Safety and Health Administration their marching orders. The UMWA stands ready to do all we can to assist Secretary Solis and Assistant Secretary Main in their effort to keep our miners safe.”

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