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1/23/2006

ICG Circumventing the Law with Sago Petition

Source: UMWA

The news that the International Coal Group (ICG) is signing up employees at the Sago mine in Upshur County, West Virginia to a company-sponsored petition “only compounds the tragedy at that mine,” United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts said today.

“It is our understanding that this petition was an initiative of ICG management,” Roberts said.

“This is yet another frantic attempt by ICG to circumvent the law in this matter and we call on the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the West Virginia Office and Mine Health, Safety and Training to investigate this action by ICG management.

“It is simply astonishing that ICG would go to such lengths to impede the investigation into what happened at Sago,” Roberts said. “I ask again: What are they afraid of?

“The only thing that we are focused on is finding out what happened to cause the explosion at Sago so that such an event never happens again–at Sago or at any other mine,” Roberts said. “That’s what the UMWA wants, that’s what MSHA wants, that’s what the state wants and that’s what the American people want.

“Despite this, ICG management has placed roadblocks at every turn in the path of this critical investigation in ways that do not comply with the laws and regulations of the United States,” Roberts said.

“The fact remains that several miners at Sago have requested–and continue to request–UMWA representation in the investigation of this tragedy,” Roberts said. “That is their right under MSHA regulations, and both MSHA and the state have formally recognized the UMWA as the representative of the Sago miners in this investigation.

“We will not abandon them, nor will we abandon the families of the miners who died there,” Roberts said. “It is unconscionable for ICG to compound their suffering by continuing its attempts to muddy the waters of this investigation.”

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