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Op-Ed: Trumka, Roberts — Time to fight for coal jobs

  Cecil Roberts! Rich Trumka! I am calling you out!

     It’s time to get out of your offices, get your noses out of the White House and put them in the right house – the bath house at the mine. Get down here to the coalfields of Appalachia and do something!
      Both of you are earning a comfortable living up there in Washington, D.C., playing the role of power-broker for the Democratic Party, but that isn’t what you were elected by the members of the UMWA and the AFL-CIO to do. You were elected to represent us.
The time is long past for you to do what you were elected to do and join us in fighting – in really fighting – this war on coal your president has declared.
      And I am calling out West Virginia’s elected representatives as well. You were elected by the people of West Virginia. We gave you our trust and our support. Now is the time to quit talking and start walking. We need to see you here. You need to be on the frontlines of our fight every single day.
      Today, another 2,250 West Virginia coal miners received notices of layoffs and WARN notices. West Virginia’s coalfields are being decimated by the actions of this administration. Kentucky and Virginia coalfields have already been nearly destroyed.
And all we hear from you all is that “well, the president has set aside $38 million to retrain coal miners.”
      That is pure unadulterated crap and you know it.
       Let’s put the number of layoffs and potential layoffs reported today in perspective. When you multiply those 2,250 coal jobs that could be lost by the standard economic multiplier for mining jobs that means that an additional 11,250 jobs could be lost throughout the mining support and service industries. That equals a total of 13,500 jobs could be lost to the economy. That means $637.5 million dollars could be lost to the region’s economy in wages alone.
        Add to that the millions could be lost in severance, millions more in other taxes, and the damage and potential damage would be crippling – well over $1 billion. And that is only the latest losses. When you combine this with the losses we have already seen over the past few years, you are looking at more than 20,000 coal miners, over 100,000 total jobs and tens of billions lost to the region’s economy. For no gain.
       Studies show it won’t make any difference in the forecasted rise in global temperatures (if you actually believe the forecasts), it won’t make any difference in the projected sea level rise or CO2 content in the air (if you believe those projections). It will only cost – and right now it is the coal miners of Appalachia and our families who are paying the price for Obama’s insanity.
      So, I say again – Roberts, Trumka, get off your butts and get down here. Trumka, you claim you have the president’s ear. How about using it to help us rather than building your damn Blue-Green Coalition and tossing us aside like used toilet paper?
And to our elected officials, we need real legislation and we need you to take the fight to Obama. Do what has to be done. Obama is destroying this region. He is killing our economy. And he is tearing to shreds the Constitution. He is making a mockery of Congress.
       Show him what a united Congress can do! Strip him of his power. Take away the money. Sue him. Bring him up for impeachment!
       Cecil, I do want to thank you for your help and hard work during the Patriot bankruptcy, but we are long past that. What’s going on now will make the Patriot bankruptcy look like a flea on a dog’s back. We are talking about the complete devastation of our entire region – the destruction of our entire industry, all the jobs and all the retirees’ pensions that go along with it.
       We need a nationwide strike. Not against the coal companies. We need to strike against the Obama Administration and the EPA. Let’s shut this country down for a while and see what happens.
       Let’s do what a real union leader, John L. Lewis, would have done. He would have told Obama to shove the EPA up his butt and offered to do it for him! And as Mother Jones said, “you pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” It’s time to fight.
John L. would have no qualms about calling for a nationwide strike.
       Where are you John L? The nation needs you today. We obviously don’t have any real labor leaders anymore.

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