It’s unlikely that United Mine Workers of America president Cecil Roberts thought he would be arrested protesting the energy policies of the very politician his union supported in 2008. But things have come full circle for coal miners, who now see President Obama’s climate agenda threatening their livelihoods.
Roberts and other UMWA members were arrested Thursday marching through Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, towards the federal building where the Environmental Protection Agency was holding field hearings for a new rule that could very well force more coal mines and plants to shut down.
Roberts was leading about 5,000 coal miners, their families and supporters to show the EPA that coal miners, boilermakers, electric workers and other unions did not support the Obama administration’s new regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.
“This was an expression by the leadership of the union and the solidarity for our members when our jobs are on the line … it’s what it’s all about,” Roberts said while being arrested.
UMWA District 31 vice president Mike Caputo said the Pittsburgh rally was only “the first shot of the battle” against the Obama’s administration’s regulatory agenda.
“We were willing to go to jail to show the government that this is a serious issue within our union and the jobs that it affects,” Caputo told the Register-Herald. “We painted a vivid picture of who this rule is going to affect.”
The fact is, UMWA has come along way since 2008 when they enthusiastically supported Barack Obama in his bid for the presidency.