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Mine and Steel Worker Unions Sue Agency for Emergency Virus Rule

June 16, 2020, 2:33 PM

Two labor unions want a federal appeals court to force the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard protecting miners from infectious diseases.

The United Mine Workers of America International Union and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers jointly filed a petition seeking an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for an expedited hearing process, with a ruling to be issued within 30 days.

“We have been asking MSHA to step up and do its job to protect America’s miners from the beginning of this pandemic,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said in a statement Tuesday. “But so far, the agency has refused. You would think that those who are charged with keeping miners safe would want to actually do so. It is very disappointing that they have turned their backs on these critical workers.”

The petition follows the D.C. Circuit’s rejection of the AFL-CIO labor federation’s request to compel the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from the novel coronavirus.

A representative from MSHA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cause of Action: Seeking rulemaking

Relief: Writ of Mandamus compelling MSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard

Attorneys: Mark J. Murphy at Mooney, Green, Saindon, Murphy & Welch, P.C. and Susan J. Eckert, Joseph M. Santarella Jr. at Santarella & Eckert, LLC represent the unions

The case is UMWA v. MSHA, D.C. Cir., 6/16/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fatima Hussein in Washington at fhussein@bloombergenvironment.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com; John Lauinger at jlauinger@bloomberglaw.com

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