United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) officials say they appreciate David Zatezalo’s willingness to meet with them last week, but they haven’t yet decided how they feel about Donald Trump’s nominee for Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) chief.
Zatezalo, of Wheeling, West Virginia, is the former chief executive of Rhino Resources, a coal and energy company – but he began as a laborer in the mines and rose through the ranks before landing in a C-suite.
UMWA President Cecil Roberts said the union wants to keep an open mind about Zatezalo.
“We’re trying to be fair here. I don’t want to say, “well he came out of industry and was a supervisor and we are going to be opposed to him,’” Roberts said. “We thought it was fair to have him come in.”
Roberts said the meeting lasted for more than 90 minutes. Union officials haven’t yet decided where they will land, Roberts said.
“We’re still having that conversation and we’re not ready to take a position on that. We are very appreciative of his willingness to (have the meeting),” Roberts said.
Zatezalo holds an undergraduate engineering degree from WVU and a graduate degree from Ohio University. He began his mining career with Consolidation Coal Company where he was a member of the UMWA. He then moved into management.
The confirmation vote from the U.S. Senate is required before Zatezalo can assume the role.