Manchin’s choice to build back better: mining workers or mine owners
Chris Hamilton, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, which represents the owners, said coal jobs would remain viable for years to come, and accused the unions of “waving a white flag.” He also suggested that they did not understand the damage the renewable energy incentives in the bill would do to what is left of coal.
“Frankly, we were shocked” when unions approved social policy and climate legislation, Hamilton said.
“We would have thought they would have given up,” he added. “I don’t think we should trade one job for another, especially the basic fossil fuel jobs which are extremely well paid and come with benefits – and could last another generation.”
Phil Smith, the chief lobbyist for United Mine Workers, responded, “We are still evolving, but we are evolving in a smart way and in a way that will provide a real future for fossil fuel workers in West Virginia and across. the country. . “
Union officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid angering mine owners, said Mr. Manchin should not listen to the West Virginia Coal Association, which includes some of Mr. Trump’s most staunch supporters and changed allegiance in 2018 to support Mr Manchin’s Republican. challenger in the elections of that year, Patrick Morrisey.
Such personal considerations should not be overlooked. The United Mine Workers made Mr. Manchin honorary member in 2020 for his work securing retirement, health and black lung benefits. Every moment, the senator finds that he has lost an uncle, high school friends, friends and neighbors in a 1968 mine explosion at Farmington, W.Va., who killed 78 miners.
And while Mr. Manchin lashed out at reporters on Capitol Hill shouting questions about the Build Back Better negotiations, his spokesman, Sam Runyon, expressed his concern for mining workers.