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:
COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act
Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and six bi-partisan co-sponsors reintroduced this legislation for the second year in a row as S. 184 on February 2, 2021. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.8) and Congressman David McKinley (R-W.Va.1) introduced companion legislation as H.R. 646 with thirty-six co-sponsors.
With the continued refusal of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to develop an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect miners from exposure to COVID-19 on the job, the UMWA worked with Senator Manchin and Congressman Cartwright to develop this legislation and get it introduced.
Click here to read more information about S. 184, including the bill text, a summary, and a list of co-sponsors. Click here to read more information about H.R. 646, 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 vote. 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.
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 benefits 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. 2205, 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.
Black Lung Benefits Disability Trust Fund Solvency Act
Senator Joe Manchin and four other U.S. Senators introduced the Black Lung Benefits Disability Trust Fund Solvency Act as S. 2810 on September 23, 2021. This legislation would extend the excise tax on coal from U.S. mines until December 31, 2031.
Click here to read more information about S. 2810, including the bill text, a summary, and a list of co-sponsors.
American Energy Worker Opportunity Act
This bill was 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. It is 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 a key component of the UMWA Energy Transition Principles to keep workers whole through a true energy transition that will enhance opportunities for miners, their families, and their 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 fossil energy workers who are laid off 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 additional educational benefits 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.
Enter your address below to lookup the law makers for your location.