Fighting for you in Washington, D.C.
The UMWA is engaged in the nation’s capital on behalf of our members, their families and their communities. We’re fighting to keep health care and pension benefits for retired UMWA members in the coal industry secure; for safe, secure jobs for all our members; for a sensible energy policy that recognizes the central role coal can and will continue to play in power generation for decades to come; for quality health care for all Americans and especially retirees; for the protection of Social Security and Medicare for current and future retirees; and for strong protections for workers’ rights on the job.
Here are some of the things we are working on in Washington:
Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Introduced in July of 2021 as H.R. 3684 in the U.S House of Representatives by Peter DeFazio (OR-4) the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021. This historical piece of legislation will provide 1.2 trillion in federal investments to include $550 billion for roads, bridges, rail, airports, mass transit, ports and waterways. As well as $65 billion to improve broadband infrastructure and tens of billions to improve electric grids and water systems.
The Act will help to grow the economy and will add an average of 2 million jobs per year over a decade, including creating good-paying union jobs. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act:
- Makes the largest federal investment in public transit
- Makes the largest federal investment in passenger rail
- Makes the single largest dedicated bridge investment
- Makes the largest investment in clean drinking water and waste water infrastructure
- Ensures every American has access to reliable high-speed internet
Click here to read more information about H.R. 3684 including the bill text, summary and a list of co-sponsors.
Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
Introduced in September of 2021 by Rep. John Yarmuth (KY-3) as H.R. 5376 the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was signed into law August 16th 2022. This historic legislation will lower costs for families, create good-paying jobs for workers and grow the economy. The act will lower healthcare cost by:
- Lowering prescription drug costs and extending health care coverage with the negotiation of lower drug prices for seniors on Medicare and those with disabilities.
- Enacting inflation caps for prescription drugs
- Improving Medicare prescription benefits
- Preventing a premium spike for ACA enrollees
The act will also invest in Climate, Energy, and American Manufacturing by:
- Investing tens of billions in energy investment and production tax credits
- Investing tens of billions in manufacturing tax credits to grow US manufacturing
- Investing in fossil fuel communities by expanding the 48C investment tax credit
The bill provides billions for CCS. This legislation, coupled with the groundbreaking carbon management provisions included in the bipartisan infrastructure law, could deliver an estimated 13-fold increase in deployment of carbon management technologies and between 210 and 250 million metric tons of annual emissions reductions by 2035. Between this funding & the funding for carbon capture from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.
The IRA includes a permanent extension on the Black Lung Disability Trust excise tax which will help continue to fund Black Lung benefits by bringing the tax on coal companies back to the expired tax rate.
Click here to read more about H.R. 5376 including the bill text, summary and a list of co-sponsors.
Dislocated Miners grant
The Labor, Health and Health Services Appropriations Sub-Committee included a Multi-state National Dislocated Coal Miners Assistance Grant Program in their committee language. The Committee is aware of the difficulties experienced by dislocated coal miners as a result of continuing energy sector restructuring. The Committee recommendation includes $10,000,000 to establish a multi-State National Dislocated Coal Miners Assistance Grant program that will be available to non-profit organizations that provide employment and training assistance, as well as related supportive services, to individuals who are dislocated by coal plant closures or substantial layoffs at coal mine operations and their immediate family.
Click here to read more information about the grant and its benefits to dislocated miners.
Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act
Introduced in the U.S. Senate as S. 2205 by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and in the U.S. House of Representatives as H.R. 6102 by Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8) and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA-3) the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act is legislation that would reform the program that provides benefits to coal miners suffering from black lung disease.
The Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act aims to level the playing field for miners and their spouses seeking benefit s under the Black Lung Program that is administered by the Department of Labor. Specifically, the Act assists claimants by:
- Requiring full disclosure of medical information related to a claim, whether or not such information is entered as evidence;
- Enabling more miners to get legal assistance
- Allowing miners or their survivors to reopen their cases if they had been denied because of medical interpretations that have subsequently been discredited; and
- Adjusting black lung benefits to increase the cost of living.
Click here to read more information about S. 4511, including the bill text, a summary and a list of co-sponsors. Click here to read more information about H.R. 6102, including the bill text and a list of co-sponsors.
Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2021
Introduced in February of 2021 as H.R. 842 in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA-3) and S. 420 in the U.S. Senate by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), this critical piece of legislation would finally put teeth back into the National Labor Relations Act with respect to organizing workers.
Under the bill, once workers vote to form a union, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would be authorized to order that the employer commence bargaining a first contract. These orders would be enforced in district courts to ensure swift justice for the workers of the bargaining unit or job site.
The bill would ensure that employees are not deprived of their right to form a union because their employer hides behind a subcontractor or other intermediary, or deliberately misclassifies them as supervisors or independent contractors.
The bill also recognizes that employees need the freedom to picket or withhold their labor in order to push for changes and improvements at the workplace. The PRO Act protects employees’’ right to strike by preventing employers from hiring replacement workers. It also allows unrepresented employees to engage in collective action or class action lawsuits to enforce basic workplace rights, rather than being forced to arbitrate such claims alone.
Finally, the PRO Act would eliminate state right-to-work laws. These laws have been promoted by a network of billionaires and special interest groups to give more power to corporations at the expense of everyday workers, and have had the effect of lowering wages and eroding pensions and health care coverage in states where they have been adopted.
On March 9, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the PRO Act. The United States Senate has yet to hold a voted on the PRO Act. Click here to read more information about S. 420, including the bill text, a summary and a list of co-sponsors. Click here to read more information about H.R. 842, including the bill text, a list of co-sponsors and the roll call vote.
American Energy Worker Opportunity Act
Introduced in the U.S. Senate as S. 2966 by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and five other U.S. Senators on October 7, 2021 and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI-9) and fourteen other Representatives as H.R. 5821, and endorsed by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), the United Steelworkers (USW), Utility Workers of America (UWUA), AFL-CIO and other organizations, the American Energy Worker Opportunity Act addresses key components of the UMWA Energy Transition Initiative to keep workers whole through a true energy transition that will enhance opportunities for miners, their families and their communities. It is built around three simple goals: preserving coal jobs, creating new jobs, and preserving coal field families and communities.
The American Energy Worker Opportunity Act is a worker driven plan for fossil-fuel workers. Congress would provide billions in investment over the span of ten years to assist workers who are laid off as the through no fault of their own. The energy worker opportunity program would provide a wage supplement, health care benefits, education and training funds, as well as an additional education benefit to children.
Click here to read more information about S. 2966, including the bill text, a summary and a list of co-sponsors. Click here to read more information about H.R. 5821, including the bill text and a list of co-sponsors.
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