Thursday, August 09, 2012

UMWA plans no endorsement in presidential race

The United Mine Workers of America does not plan to endorse either presidential candidate in the upcoming election, something that has not happened in memory, Amy Harder of the National Journal reports.

The vice president of the UMWA's International Executive Board, Mike Caputo, right, told Harder that he wanted the organization to stay out of the fray. "I don't think quite frankly that coalfield folks are crazy about either candidate," he said. Obama and presumptive Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, are circulating ads and making stops in swing states with coal mines, such as Ohio and Virginia, to convince residents that they support the industry, Harder writes. Caputo said it's "unusual" for the UMWA to pass on presidential candidate endorsement. The organization hasn't officially completed its endorsement selection decisions, but expects to by mid-September; it had endorsed Obama by May in 2008.

"Politically, the Environmental Protection Agency is the culprit for the coal industry's woes," Harder writes, and this has influenced UMWA member's decisions on endorsement. Caputo said new mercury emission regulations were first introduced under George H.W. Bush, but "whoever is in charge is going to get blamed." Labor unions traditionally side with Democratic candidates, but the UMWA "has been ranting more about Obama for much of 2012," Harder writes, perhaps peaking with UMWA President Cecil Roberts' description of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's actions on regulation as terroristic. (Read more)

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