Coal Workers Urge Manchin to Support Build Back Better

Joe Manchin and United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts hold a press conference on Oct. 3, 2017. Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

The United Mine Workers of America rallied in support of the Build Back Better Act, calling on Sen. Joe Manchin, who was named an honorary member of the union last year, to reassess his decision to block the legislation.

“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,” said Cecil Roberts, the president of the union.

Roberts specifically lauded a few policies in the bill, including one that would help workers with black lung and another that creates incentives for companies to build manufacturing facilities at coalfields and employ coal miners who have lost their jobs. (Roberts also urged Manchin to support voting rights legislation.)

The UMWA’s call to Manchin to change his position comes from a group of special importance given his deep financial ties to mining and the fossil fuel industry. He has made millions from the coal company his family owns and has received more campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry this election cycle than any other senator.

“We’re likely to lose coal jobs whether or not this bill passes,” UMWA’s chief lobbyist Phil Smith told The Washington Post. “If that’s the case, let’s figure out a way to provide as many jobs as possible for those who are going to lose.” Smith added that the bill’s tax incentives provide a “pathway to do that.”

For a deeper dive:

CBS, The Hill, Insider, CNN, HuffPost. Opinion: Greg Sargent, The Washington Post

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