High School Football

‘He has kept people alive’; building named after UMWA’s Roberts

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — The headquarters for United Mine Workers Union District 31 is now named after longtime UMWA President Cecil Roberts.

A naming ceremony was held Thursday at the building located on Country Club Road in Fairmont.

“I think he was truly honored,” District 31 International Vice President Rick Altman told MetroNews following the ceremony. “It shows how much true love and admiration we have for him.”

The Cecil E. Roberts Building is a recently remodeled facility. District 31 was located on Gaston Ave. in Fairmont for years until water damage forced the move.

Roberts, 72, became UMWA president in 1995. The Cabin Creek native is known for his fiery speeches.

Altman said in recent years Roberts had led the fight to make sure UMWA members and their families continue to receive health care coverage.

“He has kept people alive, truly by getting them their health care,” Altman said. “He has kept the working people to where they can hold their head up and know there are people out there championing our cause.”

The current fight for pension benefits may be Roberts’ most difficult. Altman said he’s betting on Cecil.

“He’s up on Capitol Hill on a regular basis. Senator Joe Manchin is spearheading on the Senate side. Congressman (David) McKinley and Senator Shelley Moore Capito are reaching across party lines to keep our pension benefits,” Altman said.

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