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MINE WORKERS' TRUMKA BLASTS LABOR DEPARTMENT REPORT ON COAL MINE DUST CONTROL

 MINE WORKERS' TRUMKA BLASTS LABOR DEPARTMENT
 REPORT ON COAL MINE DUST CONTROL
 WASHINGTON, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) today blasted the report of a federal task force urging that responsibility for mine safety be left in the hands of U.S. coal companies.
 "The bottom line is that coal miners will continue to contract black lung and other respiratory diseases because of the policies embraced today by the Department of Labor," said UMWA President Richard L. Trumka.
 The report, issued by a federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) task force, was drafted in the wake of evidence that much of the U.S. coal industry was submitting fraudulent samples of respirable coal dust from the nation's mines. MSHA has claimed that at least 500 coal companies tampered with devices used to collect dust samples. Inhaling coal dust is the chief cause of black lung disease and monitoring exposure is a critical element in disease prevention.
 "For the last year officials at the Department of Labor have been slapping themselves on the back as if they were heroes in the fight for safe coal mines. Now, with the issuance of this report today, it's clear once again that when it comes down to challenging the power of coal operators this department is all talk and no action," Trumka said.
 The union president said the UMWA had long urged MSHA to "join together with coal miners and take the job of monitoring coal dust exposure out of the hands of the coal companies."
 Responding to remarks by Assistant Labor Secretary William Tattersall that it was too costly for MSHA to "hire, train and supervise" the mine inspectors needed to assure compliance with the federal law, Trumka said, "It's MSHA's job -- not the coal companies' -- to enforce federal mine safety standards."
 "Given the priorities of this administration, I can guarantee that if it were bankers and stock brokers going down in those mines each day, the Department of Labor would easily come up with the money they say it would take to enforce safety standards," Trumka added.
 Trumka said that the union is preparing a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain "all the material -- including meeting minutes and tape recodings -- that provide the basis of this report."
 -0- 6/30/92
 /CONTACT: Jim Grossfeld of the United Mine Workers of America, 202-842-7240/ CO: United Mine Workers of America ST: District of Columbia IN: MNG SU:


IH -- DC025 -- 5283 06/30/92 15:30 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 30, 1992
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