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UMWA disappointed in W. Va. Supreme Court decision in Caperton v. Massey

date: 
November 13, 2009
For immediate release?: 
 

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

    “I am bitterly disappointed in the decision issued yesterday by the West Virginia Supreme Court in the Caperton v. Massey case. It is beyond comprehension how a majority of the justices could fail to see the harm done by Massey in this case.

    “The harm here isn’t just to Hugh Caperton, the owner of Harman Mining, though he clearly suffered significant financial damage as a result of Massey’s actions. This case goes much deeper than that.

    “Massey’s actions caused and continue to cause real suffering to real people – miners who worked for Harman who lost their jobs, lost their health care and lost their hopes for the future.

    “The UMWA was able to cover the health care costs for retirees from Harman for a time, and then the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds began covering their health care, and has for several years now. The cost of that care is in the tens of millions of dollars – costs that will now be borne by other coal companies who contribute to the UMWA Funds instead of Massey, which is responsible for the loss of that care.  

    “That is the real travesty of this decision by the Supreme Court: That one corporation can be allowed to treat another the way that Massey did to Harman, causing hundreds to lose their jobs and their health care, and then get away with it. That is a very worrisome and extremely disappointing precedent for West Virginia’s highest court to set.”

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