FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 7, 2020
[TRIANGLE, VA.] United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:
“It is critical that Congress act without delay to pass a COVID relief package that will provide additional unemployment benefits, an additional bar on evictions, aid to state and local governments, extension of a Payroll Support Programs (PSP) for the airline industry, help for small businesses and more. American working families have been waiting for this help since September. There must not be any further delay.
“Thousands of UMWA members are unemployed right now, both in the coal industry and in other industries. Indeed, by some measures this has been one of the worst years for the coal industry in almost 90 years. Our members did nothing wrong, yet they and their families are hurting.
“Hopefully their jobs will return as Americans get vaccinated and we begin to work our way out of this pandemic and the economic disaster it has caused. But in the meantime, the help they would receive from an additional $1,200 per month in supplemental unemployment benefits will be a Godsend.
“As essential workers, the vast majority of UMWA members have been on the job throughout this troubled time. Nearly 300 of our active members have contracted COVID-19, hundreds more of our retirees have as well. Many of them have been hospitalized. Some have passed away. I salute all of them for their perseverance throughout this pandemic, and urge them to continue to stay safe, wear a mask and get the vaccine when it becomes available.
“I commend those members of Congress who worked in a bipartisan fashion to finally get Congress moving on providing the relief Americans so desperately need. I am especially glad that Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is one of those spearheading this effort. I know he cares deeply about working families in West Virginia and around the country, as do the others who have contributed to this legislation.
“Let’s get this done, and done in a way that provides the most relief possible to those who need it while still upholding critical safety and health protections for those who are working.”