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WWVA commentator's comments offensive to all in Ohio Valley

April 20, 2012
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[TRIANGLE, VA.] United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

"The comments from WWVA-AM on-air personality David Bloomquist about coal miners, their wives and the nature of coal miners' jobs demonstrate a shocking ignorance about the work coal miners do and the highly-technical skills required to mine coal in modern America coal mines.

"Operating the intricate machinery in a coal mine requires a degree of knowledge that I suspect far exceeds Mr. Bloomquist's capabilities. The equipment miners use everyday underground must be operated with precision and care. If Mr. Bloomquist hits the wrong button in his studio, the worst that can happen is that the wrong advertisement is aired. If someone in an underground coal mine hits the wrong button, people can die.

"I am especially troubled by his equating the work of coal miners to what '13-year old kids do" in third world countries. Mr. Bloomquist may not be aware of the painful and long struggle coal miners and the UMWA fought to end child labor in the nation's mines and elsewhere, but we have not forgotten. I am appalled that Mr. Bloomquist thinks child labor anywhere is OK, and suggesting that we should go back to those days in this country.

"Finally, to ridicule the pride the wives of coal miners have for the work their spouses do is beneath the dignity of anyone who cares about a civil society in America. These women (and some men) never really know when their spouses go off to work if they will come back. They put on a brave face and kiss their spouse goodbye every day, and breathe a hidden sigh of relief every day when they come home. Their daily bravery is something that is also clearly beyond Mr. Bloomquist's capabilities.

"On behalf of the coal miners and their families in the Ohio Valley who bear the brunt of Mr. Bloomquist's ignorance, and the tens of thousands of other coal miners and their families who have not yet heard of it (but who will), I demand an on-air apology from him and the owner of WWVA, Clear Channel Communications.

"The UMWA has noted the local companies who are advertising on WWVA-AM and its website. I will be contacting our local unions in the area, and advising our members to keep Mr. Bloomquist's comments in mind when they consider where to take their business with respect to those advertisers."


Note: the link to Mr. Bloomquist's blog post is here:

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