The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), which represents West Virginia coal miners, urged Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Monday to revisit his opposition to President Biden's Build Back Better plan.
The labor union noted that the bill includes an extension of a fund that provides benefits to coal miners suffering from black lung disease, which expires at the end of the year. The UMWA also touted tax incentives that encourage manufacturers to build facilities in coalfields that would employ thousands of miners who lost their jobs.
“For those and other reasons, we are disappointed that the bill will not pass,” Cecil Roberts, the union’s president, said in a statement. “We urge Senator Manchin to revisit his opposition to this legislation and work with his colleagues to pass something that will help keep coal miners working, and have a meaningful impact on our members, their families, and their communities.”
Roberts added in his statement that the spending package includes a provision to penalize companies that deny workers the ability to unionize, a measure taken from the larger pro-union PRO Act that Manchin supports.
“This language is critical to any long-term ability to restore the right to organize in America in the face of ramped-up union-busting by employers,” he said. “But now there is no path forward for millions of workers to exercise their rights at work.”