Justice passes on opportunity to appoint strong advocate for miners to safety office


NOVEMBER 2, 2018 


[CHARLESTON, W.VA.] United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:


“I was highly disappointed to learn that Gov. Jim Justice (R), passed up a strongly qualified candidate with decades of experience in protecting miners on the job when he announced his selections to head the West Virginia Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training (OMSHT) today.


“Carl Egnor has all the qualifications to lead that office, and do so in a way that puts miners’ safety and health in the forefront of every activity the office undertakes. But that’s clearly not the kind of person the mine operators, apparently including the Governor, want in that position or any of the other leadership positions in that office.


“The operators have spent the last several years trying to neuter the OMHST, by taking away all its enforcement powers and firing all its inspectors. I don’t think they will be happy until they have rolled back every safety law in the state to the days when miners were being killed by the hundreds every year.


“We can only hope that the Governor and those who are pulling the strings allow the OMSHT to continue doing its work to protect miners. I can promise this: the thousands of miners the UMWA represents in West Virginia will continue to have the protection of our Local Union Safety Committees and our collective bargaining agreement. And we offer those same protections to miners who choose to join our union, because they are going to need it.”