West Virginia Mine Workers Stand Up Against Attack on Their Safety

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Mine Workers (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts rejected the idea that West Virginia needs less safety enforcement in the coal mining industry, calling a proposal to cut mine safety regulation outrageous.” West Virginia HB 4840 would eliminate the ability of the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety & Training to enforce the state’s mining safety laws.

“I cannot understand why any responsible legislator would believe the outright elimination of an entire state agency’s enforcement power would keep miners safer at work,” Roberts said in a statement. “Last year, West Virginia alone accounted for 50% of all coal mine fatalities in America. [On Monday] morning, we received a call that a miner in southern West Virginia, with twenty years of experience, died in a mining accident. The first agency on the scene this morning was not MSHA, it was the state. The state inspectors arrived on-site almost an hour before MSHA was able to get there. So, to say we need less protection from the state, less safety and less enforcement in the coal mining industry makes zero sense.”

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