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UMWA praises House mine safety bill

July 1, 2010
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TRIANGLE, VA – The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) today announced strong support for legislation introduced today by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) to improve safety in America’s mines.

“This legislation takes a comprehensive approach to improving mine safety by making it far more difficult for rogue operators to evade the law and their responsibility to provide a safe workplace for their employees," said UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts. "In the wake of the Upper Big Branch disaster, enactment of these reforms is urgently needed."

Among its many provisions, the draft legislation would greatly enhance whistleblower protection for workers. In addition, the bill would significantly improve the pattern of violations (POV) mechanism, including increasing the number of inspections and effecting a POV system designed to turn unsafe mines into safe mines. Further, the legislation would give MSHA broader authority to investigate mine disasters, including subpoena power, and would require an independent investigation if there are three or more fatalities.

A companion bill by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is likely to be introduced in the Senate after the July 4 recess.

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