CHARLESTON, W. VA. – Families of victims of the Upper Big Branch
disaster and the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) today filed a
challenge to the decision of the federal Mine Safety and Health
Administration to hold the interviews of witnesses in the Upper Big
Branch disaster in private. The challenge was filed in the U.S. District
Court of the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston.
“We sincerely wish we did not have to take this action,” UMWA
International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “But we have been left
with no choice.
“We believe it is imperative for the families of the victims of this
tragedy to be able to hear the evidence that will be gathered in these
interviews for themselves,” Roberts said. “We also believe that the
workers – who will have to go back to work in that mine – must be
allowed to have their designated representative in the interviews,
asking questions and hearing testimony first-hand.
“The only way that can be accomplished is by MSHA holding an open and
transparent investigation,” Roberts said.
As part of the challenge, the plaintiffs are seeking a temporary
restraining order to stop the interview process from proceeding without
representatives of the families and miners being present.
Click here for a pdf copy of the lawsuit.