Muckraker: Grist on PoliticsThe United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) endorsed Barack Obama for president today, after a unanimous vote of the union’s National Council of the Coal Miners’ Political Action Committee. In a press release on the endorsement, the UMWA said they chose to endorse Obama over John McCain because of his plans to help working-class Americans and his support for the coal industry.

“Sen. Obama is from a coal state,” UMWA International President Cecil Roberts said in a written statement. “He understands that coal will remain a primary source for electricity generation in this country for many decades to come and he will join with the UMWA as we work to ensure that it will be used for that purpose in an environmentally responsible way.”

(We’ve already covered some of the complications and contradictions in Obama’s support for “clean coal” here and here. You can read more about his plans to support workers through the transition here.)


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“Sen. Obama will work to ensure the future of American coal and the jobs that go with it by moving aggressively to develop and implement carbon capture and sequestration technology,” Roberts said. “Sen. McCain has advanced proposal after proposal that would cut jobs in the coal industry, especially in the eastern part of the country.”

Roberts also cited his support for the rights of workers in the coal industry: “Sen. Obama will make sure that the nation’s mine safety and health enforcement agency actually enforces the law, instead of coddling mine operators who repeatedly and willfully violate the law.”

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The UMWA represents 105,000 active and retired coal miners and folks in related fields. In his endorsement, Roberts also talked up Obama’s plans for Social Security, health care, and educatione.