April 17, 2020
A letter today was sent to President Trump by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Sherrod Brown (D-Oho), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Robert Casey Jr. (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Mark Warner (D-VA) echoing the UMWA’s call to the Mine Safety and Health Administration to exercise its authority to issue emergency standards to safeguard miners as the nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As you are well aware, coal miners are especially prone to the dangers of COVID-19 because of the nature of their work. Unlike other professions where social distancing recommendations are practicable, coal mining requires the continuous clustering of people working in close proximity of one another. Clustering usually begins in the locker rooms where miners prepare for the day’s shift by putting on their protective gear. It continues when the miners climb into their mantrips, mine cars, and elevators where they are carried to the extraction sites.
“While there, the miners will breathe the same air, utilize the same machinery, tools, and instrumentalities to move the coal out of the mine and into the stream of commerce. Once their shifts conclude, the miners will return to the locker rooms, utilize showering facilities, and exchange orders with the next shift before heading home to their families. This process repeats itself between every shift, and at every mine, exponentially increasing the probability of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.”
To read the full copy of the letter click here.