Tell Congress and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that it’s time for the United States to keep its promises to hard-working coal miners by passing the Miners’ Protection Act in 2016.

This bill, an important piece of the POWER+ Plan, is needed this year to secure health benefits and pensions for the coal miners who helped build and power this country. 

SIGN ON: I support passage of the POWER+ Plan and encourage my representatives in Congress to seek passage of this Plan through the federal legislative process.

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My name is Carl Shoupe and I’m a third generation coal miner, born and raised in Harlan County in eastern Kentucky. I grew up in the little coal camp town of Lynch and mined coal underground here in this beautiful valley until I was injured in a mining accident. The roof of an underground mine fell on me and mashed my body when I was 22 years old.

It took me a couple years to recover and to literally get back on my feet. Once I did, I went to work fighting for the rights of coal miners to have safe working conditions, good health care, pensions, and benefits for widows of miners. I am proud to have organized with the United Mine Workers and spent my life fighting for a good quality of life for miners, just as the miners here in these mountains are proud to have powered this country.

Now, I’m retired and still dealing with health problems related to that mining accident. But, I’m still fighting. I’m not only fighting for clean drinking water and to protect these mountains that have cradled my family for generations, but I’m also fighting to make sure our miners don’t lose their hard-earned benefits and pensions.

That’s why I’m asking Senator Mitch McConnell to use his power in the Senate, during the final days of this Congressional session in 2016 to pass the Miners’ Protection Act.

When the massive coal companies declare bankruptcy in the courts like they have been, they’re leaving the coal miners with the bag to hold. It’s time for our government to step in with federal legislation that would protect the health care and pensions that these companies are refusing to pay.

And I need your help. Senator McConnell has been stalling and has allowed this bill to sit in Congress all year. Now, there are only a few weeks left to pass it. This legislation—and action by McConnell—isn’t just important, it’s urgent. There’s still time to make sure miners here in Kentucky are protected, but Congress must act now.

As Senate Majority Leader has more power than any other legislator in the country to make this bill a reality. The time is now for Senator McConnell to get behind coal miners and coal communities and show leadership for our state by moving the Miners’ Protection Act through Congress now.

Sign this statement of support urging Senator McConnell to bring this critical part of the POWER+ Plan home to Kentucky this year.

The United Mine Workers have endorsed and worked hard to pass the legislation. Learn more about the Miners’ Protection Act at the AFL-CIO's website. And read this this editorial from the New York Times.