The PJ Tatler

Obama's EPA Costs Him the Support of a Key Union

The United Mine Workers of America union leans very Democrat and represents thousands of coal miners in the United States. The political trajectory of that union during the Obama years goes like this.

In 2008, the union enthusiastically endorsed then Senator Barack Obama for the presidency. That endorsement, coming from a big union in coal country, helped shore up Obama’s standing as he geared up to finish off Hillary Clinton’s Democratic primary challenge.

After four years of President Obama using the Environmental Protection Agency to wage war on coal, though, the United Mine Workers decided to sit out the 2012 election. It was the first time in decades that the union did not endorse a presidential candidate. It was clear in 2012 that Obama’s policies led directly to the union declining to endorse him a second time. Some coal miners appeared with Mitt Romney during the campaign, to slam the “war on coal.”

David Kameras, a UMWA spokesman based at the union’s headquarters in Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C., said UMWA has not officially completed its endorsement selection decisions for the 2012 election and expects to do so by about mid-September. In 2008, UMWA endorsed Obama in May of that year.

“Our members count on coal-fired power plants and burning of coal to keep jobs,” Caputo said. “We’re a very Democratic union and we try to listen to the rank and file. They’ve sent a clear message that they’re not supportive of the environmental rules that are being put in place.”

Fast forward to 2014. The United Mine Workers are now in a street protest battle with Obama’s environmentalists.

In Pittsburgh, PA Thursday, coal miners from the union gathered to protest even more EPA regulations. They ended up in a shouting match with environmentalist protesters.

On Liberty Avenue just after noon, shouts of “Move to China!” from union marchers in green camo shirts met responses of “No planet, no jobs!” from sign-waving environmentalists.


“There are many good people who have bought into these regulations,” said Edwin D. Hill, international president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. “Many of them have the best intentions. But if somebody is going to take our jobs and health care and pensions and harm our families, it doesn’t matter to me what their intentions are; we’re going to fight back.”

Fourteen UMWA organizers were arrested at the Pittsburgh confrontation, while protesting to protect their families and jobs from Obama’s policies.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers also endorsed Obama, both in 2008 and 2012. Now they’re protesting him, too.

Obama thanks them for their support by using the EPA to take their jobs away.

By the way, coal state West Virginia voted Democrat for decades. Now that it’s shifting to the GOP, though, the Obama EPA didn’t even bother to hold any hearings on the new regulations there. That’s of a piece with Obama neglecting the border when he visited Texas this summer. States that did not vote for him are not part of his union. When Obama isn’t neglecting red states, he either uses them as an ATM for the Democrats, or he uses federal policy to punish them.

But back to the miners union. Are we seeing Big Labor (the UMWA is affiliated with the AFL-CIO) re-think its ironclad bond with the Democratic Party? Or, at least, a fracturing of Big Labor’s support for Democrats? For all the talk of a “Republican civil war,” is the Democrat base coming to war with itself — a war between the environmentalists Luddites who oppose the Keystone Pipeline and who want to do away with coal entirely on the one hand in the name of the global warming myth, and jobs and energy security on the other hand?