*If you purchase a new, qualifying union-assembled vehicle, you will receive a check for $100 within 6 to 8 weeks after purchase. (The rebate checks come from Union Plus and not from the dealer). Union Plus receives a monthly report on the sales activity from the program provider to verify that a rebate check should be sent to a member who purchased a qualifying vehicle. This process is automatic, there are no forms to complete. Keep a copy of your Union Plus Auto Buying referral email that can assist in researching your purchase if you think you qualified for a rebate but did not receive a check. **Some benefits not available in NY or NH. Terms and conditions apply. Auto Deductible Reimbursement is provided by Voyager Indemnity Insurance Company, an Assurant company.
Mining fatalities, serious incidents and injuries are occurring across commodities and across the country. Stand Down to Save Lives is an opportunity to take a moment to ensure mine operators are taking every opportunity to ensure the safety of their employees.
These best practices should be implemented and institutionalized to enhance the safety and health culture at your mine or mines. This can be done by having a toolbox talk or conducting workplace and equipment examinations. It can be as simple as a 15-minute discussion and include hours of additional training over a few days. In short, Take Time, Save Lives.
WHY STAND DOWN?
Many incidents can be prevented with just a few minutes – or seconds – of precaution. Undertrained workers, lack of safe procedures and inadequate safety checks are the cause of many accidents. Mine owners and operators are responsible for proper training, adequate personal protective equipment and safe operation of equipment and machinery. Safe work procedures should reinforce training and safety programs.
As of May 9, 2023, MSHA’s review of the 18 fatalities in CY 2023 preliminarily identified the following root causes and facts:
Do you perform maintenance on equipment, operate mobile equipment, or work at heights? Importance of Safe Procedures: 16 of the 18 fatalities could have been prevented if the mine operator established and required miners to follow safe procedures for the following:
Performing maintenance on jaw crushers, shaker screens, water pipes, and tires.
Blocking against motion before performing maintenance or repairs.
Operating equipment around overhead high-voltage power lines.
Operating mobile equipment in a safe manner to maintain control.
Following roof control plans and adequately supporting the ground.
Maintaining and providing safe access to roadways.
Wearing fall protection where there is a danger of falling.
Were effective examinations conducted? Examinations: In 12 of the 18 fatalities, the following examinations either were not conducted or were inadequate:
Examinations of ground and/or roof conditions.
Pre-operational inspections of equipment.
Weekly examinations of electrical equipment.
Do you have the training you need to confidently complete the task safely? Experience and Training: 10 of the 18 victims had one year or less of experience at the mine, and the same number had two years or less of experience at the activity. 8 of the 18 fatalities could have been prevented if miners had received the following training:
Site-specific hazard awareness training.
OWNERS/OPERATORS: How can you improve safety and health programs, equipment, and hazard reporting to make them more effective?
SUPERVISORS: How can you improve training and examinations? Have you addressed any concerns raised prior to your shift?
MINERS: Do you have properly fitting protective equipment and are you fully trained?
Now through June 5, union members can get quality legal plans from MetLife Legal at a reduced rate of just $19.95 a month*. With MetLife Legal Plans, you can ensure unlimited access to experienced attorneys for many common legal matters, whenever you need it. See details. Offer ends 6/5/2023.
* For new customers only. ** When using a network attorney for a covered legal matter. This plan does not cover divorce (except a one-hour consultation), child custody, DUI or employment matters. Other exclusions apply, see the plan documents for more details.
Group legal plans provided by MetLife Legal Plans, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. In certain states, group legal plans are provided through insurance coverage underwritten by Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company and Affiliates, Warwick, RI. Some services not available in all states. Please see your plan description for details. MetLife® is a registered trademark of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY. No service, including consultations, will be provided for: 1) employment-related matters, including company or statutory benefits and employment-related matters involving a labor union; 2) matters involving the employer, MetLife and affiliates and plan attorneys; 3) matters in which there is a conflict of interest between the employee and spouse or dependents in which case services are excluded for the spouse and dependents; 4) appeals and class actions; 5) farm and business matters, including rental issues when the participant is the landlord; 6) patent, trademark and copyright matters; 7) costs and fines; 8) frivolous or unethical matters; 9) matters for which an attorney-client relationship exists prior to the participant becoming eligible for plan benefits. For all other personal legal matters, an advice and consultation benefit are provided. Additional representation is also included for certain matters.
Thinking of buying a home? Don’t let down payment or credit challenges discourage you.
Wells Fargo has mortgage options that may help. A Wells Fargo Home Mortgage consultant
can help determine what options and union benefits may be available for you.
UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts wrote a letter of support for Acting Secretary Su in favor of her nomination as Secretary of Labor.
“The resignation of former Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh has left a huge void in our nation’s ability to protect and uplift workers on the job at a critical time. Workplace fatalities are up to an unimaginable 5,000+ per year. More workers than we have seen in decades are seeking a voice in their workplace and the protections of a union contract.”
“President Biden has made the right choice for Secretary of Labor, and I strongly recommend a vote in favor of her nomination by the full Senate.”
The Warrior Met Coal strike has been one of the biggest labor stories in Alabama since the miners first walked out on April 1, 2021. The strike came to a fitful end in mid-February, but negotiations between the company and the workers, who are represented by the United Mine Workers of America, have continued. The miners remain determined to win the fair contract they deserve, but this week, the company threw yet another wrench into the works. According to the National Labor Relations Board’s website, a decertification petition has been filed. Essentially, Warrior Met was not satisfied by busting up the strike; now, they’re trying to break the union.
“We were made aware of this filing late yesterday afternoon; but we believe that at the end of the day, this petition will be dismissed,” Erin Bates, the UMWA’s director of communications, said via email… “It’s unfortunate that this is happening at the very moment our members are going back to work and all parties are trying to move forward and the fact is that the company’s consistent refusal to bargain in good faith from the outset of this process has created an atmosphere where this kind of union-busting could exist. We certainly hope that no management personnel is encouraging or participating in this effort, which would be a blatantly illegal act.”
It’s already been a long and bitter fight between the Brookwood-based, Wall Street-backed coal executives and the unionized workers whose labor generates the company’s considerable profits, and the miners’ union has poured millions of dollars into the campaign (over $38 million as of March 1). The forces of capital constantly conspire to rob the working class of their ability to defend and advocate for themselves, but Warrior Met has truly gone above and beyond. Throughout the course of the strike, the company has used every possible means to break the strike, from acquiring court injunctions that severely limited workers’ ability to picket to smearing them in the local press to turning a blind eye when their own employees committed vehicular assaults on strikers and their spouses. The union has fought back and held the line, but skyrocketing coal prices hurt their ability to inflict meaningful economic damage on the company. As the months dragged on, the union was forced to change tactics.
In February, UMWA International president Cecil Roberts sent an unconditional return-to-work offer to Warrior Met’s CEO, essentially offering to send the miners back to work while contract negotiations continue. The company accepted the offer but added a number of conditions (including a mandatory physical, a drug test, and a refusal to rehire 41 of the strikers) that have slowed down the return process. As one UMWA staffer told me, the company has only been scheduling a handful of physicals per week. The decertification petition lists 795 workers, but as of now, only 273 UMWA members have returned to work, joining the hundreds of replacement workers and scabs whose efforts have allowed the mines to continue pumping out coal throughout the strike.
The company’s slow-walking return has undoubtedly contributed to the miners’ frustration. One UMWA staffer believes that Warrior Met is intentionally trying to stir up discontent and animosity towards the union. This decertification petition was filed by an employee, almost certainly a scab; the same UMWA staffer told me that supervisors allegedly escorted said employee over to the filing office.
In order for the decertification effort to be successful, “the employee will have to show that 30% of employees want to hold an election to decertify the union,” the person behind @UnionElections, a Twitter account that tracks NLRB filings, said on Friday. “Then, if that showing of interest is met, the union will need a 50%+1 vote to remain the exclusive representative.”
It might not even get to that point; the union plans to appeal and hopefully block the election altogether. This is a developing story, and while the circumstances do seem to lean in the union’s favor (the sheer number of scabs alone raises questions about voter eligibility), this latest twist of the knife means that Warrior Met is still playing hardball and that these workers’ ordeal will continue until further notice.
Written By: Kim Kelly
Kim Kelly is an independent labor journalist, author, and labor activist.
She has been a regular labor columnist for Teen Vogue since 2018, and her writing on labor, class, politics, and culture has appeared in The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Baffler, The Nation, the Columbia Journalism Review, and Esquire, among many others.
On Thursday, March 30, 2023, Brother Charles Bird, from Clay County, West Virginia, was presented with his 80-year pin from UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts.
Brother Bird started working in the mines when he was only 18 years old, starting in 1943. “I don’t understand why these young miners don’t join the Union and pay their dues,” Bird said. “We’re just like a bunch of brothers.”
“It was an honor to present Brother Bird with his 80-year pin,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said.
“Brother Bird not only dedicated his life to supplying energy for this nation but is also a World War II veteran. I am truly humbled to have the chance to know this great man.”
District 17 Vice President Brian Lacy also attended this monumental occasion.
Membership pins are presented to UMWA members, by their District Offices, who have been dedicated members of the United Mine Workers for at least 20 years. Honoraries are also featured in the bi-monthly UMW Journal. To receive a membership form, fill out the Membership Application Form and provide it to your District Office. Click here to find your District Office.
In March 2011, the West Virginia House of Representatives and Senate passed legislation that designated March 30th as West Virginia Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day.
The West Virginia State Council, Vietnam Veterans of America, with support from the West Virginia Veterans Assistance Department, plans to commemorate this event on the grounds of the West Virginia State Capitol on March 30, 2023.
UMWA International President and Vietnam Veterans Cecil E. Roberts will be the keynote speaker for the event!
Everyone is welcome to join and honor the men and women were thanklessly served our nation during the Vietnam War.
Prioritize your hearing health in 2023 with the Union Plus Hearing program!
The Union Plus Hearing program offers union families exclusive savings on hearing aids, virtual screenings, a
free hearing exam, and more! Our dedicated hearing care advocates will assist you every step
of the way.