It’s no secret that Barack Obama has declared war on the coal industry and the jobs it maintains. He declared war back in 2008. However, back then, very few were actually listening.
Then, back in April, Cecil Roberts, the President of the United Mine Workers of America, had a stunning revelation: Barack Obama would like to do to coal miners’ jobs what the President had the Navy Seals do to Osama Bin Laden—kill ’em dead.
Now, the Obama Administration’s war on coal is costing Candidate Obama an important union endorsement–that of Roberts’ UMWA.
“As of right now, we’ve elected to stay out of this election,” said Mike Caputo, a UMWA official and a Democratic member of the West Virginia House of Delegates. “Our members right now have indicated to stay out of this race, and that’s why we’ve done that…. I don’t think quite frankly that coalfield folks are crazy about either candidate.”
During a radio interview in April, UMWA’s Roberts was clear in his opposition to the Obama Administration’s open declaration of war on the coal industry:
“You have to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions throughout the world. You can’t just regulate them through the EPA of the United States,” Cecil Roberts said on Tuesday’s MetroNews Talkline.
“Coal is the fastest growing energy source in the world and they’ve decided, at the EPA, well, we’re going to control what goes into the atmosphere worldwide by halting the construction of coal fired facilities in the United States,” Roberts said.
“It doesn’t work, for one thing, and, the second thing, it is just devastating for our economy.”
“The Navy SEALs shot Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington,” Cecil Roberts, president of the powerful union, said during an interview Tuesday on the West Virginia radio show MetroNews Talkline. [Emphasis added.]
Obama’s war on coal is already costing American workers their jobs, according to the New York Post:
Most recently, American Electric Power withdrew its application for a $1 billion retrofit of its Big Sandy plant in Kentucky; it now plans to shutter five of its 21 coal-fired facilities.Nationwide, some 100 of 500 coal-burning plants are slated for the slag heap.
Many closings will come in Ohio, where Akron-based FirstEnergy was first out of the box in announcing several planned shutdowns. It spent five years and $1.8 billion installing scrubbers on its largest plant located on the Ohio River; costly upgrades to the smaller units simply didn’t make sense.
Last month, the Ormet Corporation issued a WARN Act notice that 1,000 (mostly union) jobs may be eliminated. The cause, according to the Marietta Times is poor market conditions and “increased power costs.”
Last week, the United Mine Workers stated on its website:
The UMWA National COMPAC Council has not made an endorsement in the 2012 election for President of the United States. Neither candidate has yet demonstrated that he will be on the side of UMWA members and their families as president.
That’s not exactly true, however. Republican candidate Mitt Romney has come out in support of jobs in the coal industry, stating:
“We have 250 years of coal, why in the heck wouldn’t we use it?” Romney said, speaking in front of hard-hat-wearing miners who roared in approval. “We’re going to take advantage of our energy resources to save your jobs, to create more jobs.”
While unions have publicly voiced opposition to Obama’s policies in the past, few have actually carried through with their threats.
Earlier this year, for example, Laborers’ union boss Terry O’Sullivan expressed outrage over Obama’s killing 20,000 Keystone XL jobs and vowed not to forget the betrayal. Yet, barely two months later, the Laborers’ union leadership endorsed Obama for a second term—even before a GOP nominee had been selected.
Whether or not the union bosses at the United Mine Workers ultimately bow to pressure and end up endorsing Obama’s re-election remains to be seen. However, if the recent history of today’s unions is any indicator, chances are, like so many of their peers, the union bosses at the UMWA will end up putting politics over principle and endorse Obama again.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com
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