West Virginia Legislators attack miners’ health and safety again


FEBRUARY 11, 2019

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

“House Bill 2875, introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates last week, is one of the most outrageous attempts to slash critical protections for miners’ safety and health on the job that I have ever seen. The sponsors and co-sponsors of this bill should be ashamed of themselves for kowtowing to the will of some coal operators who care more about the coal than they do about the coal miners.

“This bill would drastically reduce safety inspections in the mines and take away inspectors’ enforcement powers, it would remove the right for a representative of the miners to travel with the inspector during his or her inspection and it would remove all of the state’s underground ventilation laws. It would make serious reductions to the amount of time new, inexperienced miners would need to be supervised by an experienced miner, exposing those new miners to dangerous conditions they are unprepared for.

“Let’s get the facts straight: West Virginia has led the nation in coal mining fatalities for the last seven years in a row. Now is not the time for the state to even be considering reducing safety enforcement and putting new miners in needless danger. West Virginia lawmakers can make improvements to the state’s health and safety laws without acting as mere puppets for the industry.”