RELEASE from United Mine Workers of America
May 21, 2008
UMWA endorses Barack Obama for President
The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) today
Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for President of the United States. The
endorsement came after a unanimous vote of the union’s National Council
of the Coal Miners’ Political Action Committee (COMPAC) in favor of the
“We are extremely proud to make this endorsement
International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “Sen. Obama shares the
values of UMWA members and our families. He understands and will fight
for the needs our members have today and the hopes our members have for
a secure future for themselves and their families.
“Most of all, Sen. Obama will implement the clear
direction UMWA members–indeed, all American working people–must have if
they are to once again move forward and have a true opportunity to
realize the American dream,” Roberts said. “After eight years of being
pushed aside by an administration which neither respects nor values the
contributions American working families make to our society, we are
looking forward with great anticipation to a new era in our nation
starting with the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20,
“We looked at the positions of both Sen. Obama and
Sen. John McCain
(R-Ariz.) when considering this endorsement,” Roberts said. “On issue
after issue, it is clear that Sen. Obama will be on our side while Sen.
McCain will not.
“For example, Sen. McCain would impose a
tax on the health care benefits our members and retirees receive
that we have negotiated in our contracts,” Roberts said. “UMWA members
are at risk of receiving serious injuries or contracting occupational
diseases every day. Many of our retirees suffer from debilitating
injuries or black lung. They have paid for those health care
benefits with their blood. To impose a tax on them because they receive
those benefits is not only unjust, it’s immoral.
“We also have many thousands of retirees and widows
of retirees who depend on Social Security,” Roberts said. “Sen.
McCain wants to privatize Social Security and put those
retirees’ benefits at risk in the stock market. We cannot stand by and
allow that to happen.”
“Sen. Obama will fight to preserve American jobs,
not ship them overseas in greater and greater numbers,” Roberts said. “Sen.
Obama will make sure that the nation’s mine safety and health
enforcement agency actually enforces the law, instead of coddling mine
operators who repeatedly and willfully violate the law.
“And Sen. Obama will work to ensure the
future of American coal and the jobs that go with it by
moving aggressively to develop and implement carbon capture and
sequestration technology,” Roberts said. “Sen. McCain has advanced
proposal after proposal that would cut jobs in the coal industry,
especially in the eastern part of the country.
“Sen. Obama is from a coal state,” Roberts said. “He
that coal will remain a primary source for electricity generation in
this country for many decades to come and he will join with the UMWA as
we work to ensure that it will be used for that purpose in an
environmentally responsible way.
“We will be making these points with our members
over the coming
months as we move forward to the election in November,” Roberts said.
”It doesn’t matter whether it’s our members’ jobs, their safety, their
health care, their pensions, their children’s education, their union,
their standard of living, or their very rights as American
citizens–John McCain will do harm to all of them by continuing the
failed Bush administration policies.”
“Americans are crying out for real change in
Washington, and Sen.
Obama will bring that,” UMWA International Secretary-Treasurer Dan Kane
said. “We will be working as hard as we can, using every resource at
our disposal in every community where our members live and work across
this nation to do our part to help him.”
The UMWA is headquartered in Fairfax, Va., and
active and retired coal miners, mine construction workers, public
service employees, health care workers and manufacturing workers in the
United States and Canada. The UMWA represents more coal miners than any
other union in the world.