Thousands of members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) will be joined by electrical workers, boilermakers, railroad workers, utility workers and others at a rally and march in downtown Pittsburgh on July 31. The union workers are protesting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule limiting greenhouse gas emissions from existing sources.
Some 70 busloads of union members and their families from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama and elsewhere are expected to arrive the morning of July 31, dropping off their passengers at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center prior to an 11:00 a.m. rally. At around noon, the members will march to the William S. Morehead Federal Building, where the EPA will be conducting a public hearing on the proposed rule. After circling the building, the march will proceed back to the Convention Center.
“We will be there to protest a proposed EPA policy that will be destructive to our members’ jobs, their families and their communities,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “We estimate this rule could cause more than 65,000 workers in the coal, utility and railroad industries to lose their jobs by 2025.
“Climate change is a global issue that requires a global solution,” Roberts said. “The EPA’s proposed rule will not have any real impact on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. But it will cost many thousands of our members their jobs, have significant impact on their communities and will also mean higher electricity rates for everyone. That is a trade-off that doesn’t make any sense to us.
On June 2, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed to regulate electrical generation plants to reduce greenhouse gases, issuing a rule that could cost a staggering number of good railroad industry jobs.
“The rule, if it becomes final in its current form, would significantly reduce the amount of coal used to generate electricity,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “Nearly one in five railroad jobs is directly linked to coal haulage. If these jobs are lost, it is unlikely that new business generated on our nation’s railroads will ever make up for the loss of coal. This rule has the potential to devastate communities reliant on the coal industry. We have a responsibility to those individuals and families, and they cannot be treated merely as collateral damage in our country’s efforts to curb climate change.”
President Pierce encouraged BLET members to participate in the rally if their schedule allows.
WHAT: Labor rally and march
WHEN: Thursday, July 31, 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Rally begins at David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Hall A. March will begin at approximately noon
WHO: Speakers at the rally to include: Cecil E. Roberts, International President, United Mine Workers of America; Edwin D. Hill, International President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Dan Kane, International Secretary-Treasurer, United Mine Workers of America; Jack Shea, President, Allegheny County Central Labor Council.