Cecil Roberts was re-elected to head the United Mine Workers of America for a sixth term, the labor union announced Aug. 8.
Roberts used his selection to reiterate the United Mine Workers of America's, or UMWA's, focus on mine safety and ensuring pension and healthcare benefits for miners.
"There are those who say it's time to cast retirees aside and let their pensions wither away, no matter what happens to them and their communities," Roberts said. "To them I say that we will fight for those pensions to our last breath, and we will prevail ... we have come too far and saved too many lives in America's coal mines and workplaces to turn the clock back to a day when workers did not know if they would return home from their shift."
Under Roberts' leadership, the UMWA has pushed for federal action on miner pension programs in recent years, including the American Miners Pension Act in October 2017.
According to the UMWA, the union represents coal miners, as well as manufacturing workers, clean coal technicians, healthcare workers, corrections officers and public employees throughout the United States and Canada.