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BUDGET BATTLE-MINE SAFETY
Government shutdown means half the US mine inspectors are off the job; UMWA trying to fill gap
Reported by: Associated Press
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 9:13 AM EDT
Fewer than half the Mine Safety and Health Administration's inspectors are working during the government shutdown, and they're focused on mines the agency knows have a history of hazards.
Only 13 people remain on the job at the national office in Arlington, Va.
The United Mine Workers of America is stepping up safety efforts at union mines, but it worries about the effect of the government shutdown on non-union operations.
At union mines, workers can point to safety hazards and demand management fix them. If they go uncorrected, miners can refuse to work.
UMW spokesman Phil Smith tells The Charleston Gazette that it's harder for non-union miners to feel comfortable exercising that right because they often fear retribution.
Information from: The Charleston Gazette, http://www.wvgazette.com