CHARLESTON, WV — The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) announced today that it has endorsed U.S. Senator Joe Manchin for re-election, following the unanimous recommendation of the West Virginia Coal Miners Political Action Committee (COMPAC). The UMWA represents over 35,000 active and retired coal miners across West Virginia.
At the Manchin campaign headquarters, Senator Manchin was joined by UMWA president Cecil Roberts and West Virginia miners to receive one of the Mountain State’s most significant endorsements.
Roberts stressed that Manchin is a true friend to coal miners and has always fought alongside working families for honest wages, improving workplace safety, and keeping the promise of retirement benefits.
UMWA president Cecil Roberts said, “West Virginia working families, including UMWA members, have no better friend in Washington than Senator Joe Manchin. He led the effort to preserve retirees’ health care last year, and he is leading the fight to preserve their pensions right now. He is fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare from those who would raid those programs and put them at risk on Wall Street.
“And I want to be clear about one other thing: There is no one in the entire Congress who fights harder day in and day out for working coal miners. Period. He is fighting for their jobs, he is fighting for their health and safety on the job, he is fighting for their future, he is fighting for their families and he is fighting for their communities.
“I don’t care what anyone else says. Joe Manchin stands up for coal miners and all working families in West Virginia every single day. I have seen him in action on Capitol Hill; his force of will and powerful voice on behalf of working and retired West Virginians is amazing to behold.”
Senator Manchin said, “The UMWA is like family to me and having their support in this campaign is an unbelievable honor. Together, we’ve stood shoulder to shoulder to beef up coal miner safety and to secure health care benefits for coal miners and their families. Now we are fighting to make sure our coal miners get the pensions they’ve earned through years of hard work. Our coal miners built this country and established the middle class, and I won’t stop fighting for the people who put their lives on the line to power the greatest country on earth.”
The Joe Manchin Record
In the Senate, Manchin led the charge to pass the Miners Protection Act to save health care for coal miners, and In 2017, he successfully secured permanent funding for healthcare benefits for 22,600 miners and their families. He is working to guarantee the promised pension benefits our coal miners earned by taking the lead on passing the American Miners Pension Act. The Senator is also pushing for legislation that prioritizes worker pensions when companies file for bankruptcy.
The safety of our nation’s coal miners has always been a priority for Joe Manchin. He introduced the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act to give the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) the tools to investigate dangerous mining conditions that put our coal miners at risk, and to ensure that coal operators are held accountable when they fail to institute and maintain a culture of safety. Joe Manchin has always been a champion for robust funding for the Mine Safety & Health Administration, including funds for mine safety rescue equipment and enforcement resources. The Senator has been a vocal opponent of any rollback of the respirable dust rule. He has also fought to protect the Black Lung Clinics and the miners that they serve and pushed for funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund for black lung benefits. And, thanks to the Senator’s work, coal miners suffering from Black Lung have greater transparency and more protections in processing of their claims.
As Governor, Manchin put in place sweeping safety reforms to mining operations in West Virginia. His administration increased the number of emergency rescue chambers in mines to more than 300 locations in more than 180 mines and placed more than 40,000 new personal breathing devices in underground mines. In addition, Manchin launched a mine safety tip line so miners could anonymously report unsafe conditions.