CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The United Mine Workers of America have issued an invitation to every Democrat candidate for President. The invitation is to visit coal miners in their work place. An invitation to come underground and meet those who are there every day producing coal to light the country.
“School teachers have classrooms, factory workers have factory floors, we work underground so we want people to come visit us where we work,” said UMWA President Cecil Roberts speaking on Metronews Talkline on Wednesday.
The UMWA has a history of loyal support to Democrat candidates, particularly in the race for President. However the union’s support was largely shunned in the last two races and organized labor overall took a severe hit. Roberts acknowledged things like the Green New Deal, endorsed by many Democrats wasn’t helping anything.
“The premise of having a carbon free country in 10 to 12 years seems to me like it would be devastating to the country itself, to the economy, and certainly to our members,” he said.
But Roberts stopped short of offering backing to Donald Trump during his 2020 reelection campaign. Roberts was willing to acknowledge Trump’s hard line for coal and reducing many of the environmental regulations which were considered impediments to the industry. But he said the fact remained coal fired power plans continue to close all across the country.
“These plants are still closing at a terrible rate. I’m not blaming President Trump for this at all, but we need some policy decisions here that will save these coal fired power plants,” Roberts said.
The more than 20 invitations to the variety of candidates seeking the Democrat nomination went out just a few days ago. Roberts said already half of them have responded with a desire to explore the idea. He said some indicated they were ready to go underground now.
“This is the first date, it’s not the wedding,” said Roberts about the union’s potential support for any particular candidate. “It’s really not about who we’re going to be for, it’s about who is going to be for us.”