Retirement security for tens of thousands of retired coal miners and their dependents failed to make it into the $1 trillion+ spending bill recently passed by Congress – an omission that angers the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA)
“We can only ask why?,” said UMWA President Cecil E. Roberts. “What is it about these senior citizens Congress doesn’t like? They spent decades putting their lives and health on the line every day, providing the raw material our nation used to become the strongest, most powerful nation on earth. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice, either being killed in our nation’s mines or contracting black lung disease and dying a slow, choking, painful death.
“It is simply immoral to deny them or their widows the benefits they were promised and that they earned.
Roberts said members of Congress from both parties, such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D- W.Va.) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) in the Senate; and Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) in the House of Representatives did advocate for miners’ rights, although their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.
“Our fight is not over. We will continue to work with the sponsors and co-sponsors to pass the legislation – S. 1714 in the Senate and H.R. 2403 in the House – that will fulfill the promise made to coal miners and their widows by President Harry S. Truman in the White House in 1946, and confirmed by presidents and congresses of both parties ever since.”