FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 16, 2023
UMWA Makes No Endorsement For President
[TRIANGLE, VA.] United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:
“The National Council of the Coal Miners Political Action Committee (COMPAC) of the United Mine Workers of America voted June 13 to make no endorsement at this time for any candidate running for President of the United States.
“We understand that our brothers and sisters in other unions have made their decisions, as has the AFL-CIO. That is their right. However, we have our own internal process that gives our members a voice in making political endorsements, and that process has not yet begun.
“We have repeatedly said that we support politicians who support us. That means not just talking about what you’re going to do for our members, but actually doing it.
“For years, we have been pointing out the dramatic loss of jobs in America’s coal mines – more than 40,000 in the last decade. Each of those jobs supports four other jobs that either directly or indirectly depend on coal production.
“That means that about 200,000 jobs have already been lost in the coalfields. These are the best-paying jobs in their communities. Many, if not most, were union jobs. We have engaged with anyone who will talk to us about the need for rapid development of new manufacturing jobs in these distressed areas and the training of the existing workforce to step into those jobs.
“But nearly two years after the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we have yet to see a single good-paying union job that has been created for a dislocated coal miner to step into. Meanwhile, the push from Washington to rapidly eliminate coal-fired power from the nation’s energy mix continues unabated.
“And I would note that almost four years after I testified in the U.S. House of Representatives about the deadly effects on miners’ lungs of silica dust and the critical need to develop a rule to control that dust in the mine atmosphere, the administration has yet to release a rule more than halfway through its term.
“That means miners as young as 40 continue to contract the most devastating form of black lung as a result of this inaction. This is an always-fatal disease and further delay only puts more miners at immediate risk.
“At the same time, I can’t help but recall that despite repeated promises, coal-fired power plant closures accelerated under President Trump and there were fewer coal miners working at the end of his term than at the beginning. His administration recoiled from the notion of providing any assistance to those who lost their jobs.
“I am not hearing anything encouraging on this issue from any of the Republican candidates. Merely stopping the so-called “War on Coal” will have no impact on the decisions utility companies have already made regarding what type of electric generation facilities to build. They are largely moving away from coal. The only questions now are how much and how fast.
“I frankly do not have confidence any of the Republican candidates for President will lift a finger to help dislocated coal miners and their families or keep any American worker safe on the job. This is perhaps the most self-described union-hating group of Republican candidates for President I have ever seen.
“We will continue to evaluate the field of candidates and their policy positions and results. We will continue discussions among our members and local, state, and national leaders. I would note that the UMWA has not endorsed a candidate for President for 15 years. We feel no special need to get on anyone’s bandwagon right now.”