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UMWA statement on selenium agreement between Patriot and environmental groups

November 15, 2012
For immediate release?: 
[TRIANGLE, VA] United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts made the following statement today:
"My first concern about this agreement is what impact it may have on our members and their jobs. It appears that there will be no immediate job losses, which is good. As we move further down the road, we will have to see what Patriot's specific plans are with respect to its new focus on underground and smaller surface operations. Obviously, events related to the company's bankruptcy and how it intends to deal with its active and retired workers in that process will play a role in all of this.
"We have always said that our members do not get to make the decisions about where and how coal is mined, we just mine it. The companies make those decisions, and for its own reasons, Patriot has made the decision to stop operating large-scale surface operations.
"Coal mining has always been an occupation of continuous change, whether it's technological change, changes in mining methods, changes in markets, or changes in regulations.  Companies have always made strategic decisions based on those changes and workers are left to live with the consequences. That is what has happened here.
"But one thing has remained constant in coal mining for the last 123 years, and that is the UMWA and the on-the-job protection and better standard of living our contracts provide miners and their families. We will still provide our members working at Patriot and at other companies with that strength, no matter what changes may come."

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