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UMWA President Roberts calls for “new direction” from Bush Administration for MSHA head

October 2, 2006

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“The rejection by the United States Senate of President Bush’s nomination of Richard Sticker to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health - for the second time in as many months - should send a clear message to the administration that this is the wrong man for the job.

“America’s coal miners need a person in charge at the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) who has demonstrated a true commitment to better mine safety and health throughout their career. As a former mine manager and company executive, Mr. Stickler does not fit that bill.

“When a person spends the vast majority of his career working to increase production and improve the bottom line, it follows that enforcing safety will become a secondary priority. That’s been our experience with Mr. Stickler in the past, and we have been given no reason to change our opinion.

“After the Senate’s double rejection of Mr. Stickler, it would be especially irresponsible and insulting for the administration to give him a recess appointment to this position or to name him as the Acting Assistant Secretary.

“President Bush has an opportunity now to send a bold message to coal miners throughout America that he truly does care about them and their safety by appointing someone with a strong background and a demonstrable record of working to improve mine safety and health. Now is not the time for yet another industry hack to be in charge at MSHA.”

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