In the wake of the deadly 2006 Sago mine disaster in West Virginia, angry miners came forward to say that the company that managed the mining company had blatantly sacrificed routine maintenance in favor of greater productivity. Why didn’t these workers come forward sooner? Because they were afraid of losing their jobs. Even now, over 2 years after the January 2006 explosion that claimed 13 lives, lawmakers are dragging their feet on mine safety reform and specifically, whistleblower protections.
Last Friday, this West Virginia newspaper reported that the WV Senate had shot down a bill that would protect mine safety whistleblowers from retaliation when they report unsafe conditions in their mines. The lawmakers that voted against the bill were also spineless enough to request that their votes be anonymous — fortunately for the voters of West Virginia, that request was not granted. It is shocking to think that the WV legislature would turn their backs on the safety of the hardworking miners in their district.