The UMWA has been at the forefront of health and safety since its creation, and 2015 was a historic year for mine safety. It was the first time in the union’s history that there were no fatalities at any coal mines where the workers are represented by the UMWA.
UMWA members have advantages at the workplace that nonunion workers do not have. UMWA safety committees, mandated by the union contract, keep a watchful eye over safety conditions at our workplaces. These local union committees, elected by the rank and file membership, are supported by the UMWA Health and Safety Department. With local union safety committees in place, no UMWA member is forced to work in an unsafe environment.
The goal of zero UMWA fatalities was also achieved because of the union’s constant pressure to increase and enforce mine safety laws. The union is the driving force behind every piece of legislation at the state and federal level aimed at reducing fatal and non-fatal accidents and improving overall mine safety.
“Anyone who would doubt the effectiveness of the union’s efforts to protect the health and safety of all the nation’s miners need only look at the accident and injury reports to see that the work we have done is paying dividends,” said President Roberts. “We are moving steadily toward zero fatalities in the industry, a mark few outside the UMWA ever thought could be achieved.”