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GoalThe Obama administrations war on coal is beginning to take a toll on miners. After decades of steady job losses, coal mining jobs have declined by a little less than 1,000 between 2012 and 2016. Mining companies are cutting jobs and closing mines to keep costs down amid the recent collapse in oil and gas prices. That has meant fewer hours for miners working overtime, which in turn means fewer paychecks, according to the United Mine Workers. In West Virginia and Kentucky, coal mining is a majority-minority career, and the jobs are often a stepping stone for immigrants looking for work. In Kentucky, for example, its not uncommon for a miner to live with his or her family. A significant cut that could affect its members ability to continue working. Our members are absolutely devastated, Dave Hebert, the unions political director, told the Washington Post. Theyve already seen the impact on their jobs. The proposed cut would affect a relatively small percentage of dues, about 3 percent but that could change the lives of many in Kentucky, West Virginia, and other coal-dependent areas of the country. Any reduction in dues is going to be a big concern for a lot of people, Hebert told the Post. Many of the coal companies that have cut back on production and jobs are privately owned by energy giants like Cloud Peak Energy, Arch Coal, and Arch Coal alum William Donald Trump, who owns a golf course and a chain of stores across the country Trumps son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who formerly ran Kushner Companies, has taken an interest in several of Trumps decisions to expand coal exports and has been involved in trying to bring the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines to fruition. AdvertisementHebert told the Post that Trumps decision to halt the Department of the Interiors program to study the climate risks of coal mining is also a concern. We know the industry has had a difficult time in some areas with the downturn in the coal industry, but what we dont know is if the Trump administration is trying to eliminate or at least delay the very program thats going to help us to figure out the risks of the jobs and impacts that are going to have on us, Hebert said. Many coal miners have long felt that the union has failed to properly represent their best interests. Coal mining jobs in Appalachia continue to be in decline.

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