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ICYMI: West Virginia Democratic Candidate Ben Salango Earns United Mine Workers of America Endorsement Over Gov. Jim Justice

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On Tuesday, the United Mine Workers of America endorsed West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Salango – a huge embarrassment for incumbent Gov. Jim Justice, who received the UMWA endorsement just four years ago. Adding insult to injury, the UMWA said that if Salango would have run against Justice in 2016, they would have endorsed Salango then too.

Jim Justice’s family owns millions of dollars worth of coal mines – but it’s still no surprise that the UMWA chose not to endorse him. Jim Justice has a history of mistreating hard working coal miners, from abandoning retired miners to neglecting mine safety fines. UMWA even took Justice and his companies to court last year over unethical and illegal treatment regarding retired miners’ health care coverage. 

Ben Salango, on the other hand, has a pro-union and pro-labor platform, and has vowed to “to protect coal mining jobs and keep coal mines safe.” AFT-West Virginia, the state’s leading education union, also backed Salango last month

Read more about Ben Salango’s exciting new endorsement below:

Associated Press: Salango, Petsonk endorsed by United Mine Workers of America

The United Mine Workers of America has endorsed Democratic candidate for governor Ben Salango and Democratic candidate for attorney general Sam Petsonk.

Salango, who is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Jim Justice, said he was humbled to receive the endorsement on Tuesday. United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts said Salango is the “clear choice” for governor.

“His family has UMWA roots and he understands the critical importance of the coal industry to West Virginia,” Roberts said in a statement.


WV Metro News: UMWA endorses Salango after backing Justice four years ago

The United Mine Workers of America endorsed Jim Justice’s first campaign for governor almost five years ago.

The union on Tuesday announced it will be supporting Justice’s opponent, Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango, in this year’s general election.

The UMWA’s West Virginia Council of the Coal Miners Political Action Committee unanimously voted this week to back Salango, the Democratic candidate, over Justice, who is seeking his second term in office and his first general election victory as a Republican.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts explained the previous Justice endorsement during a press conference, noting Justice’s opponent at the time, then-Senate President Bill Cole.

“In 2016, Gov. Justice was running against a Republican that we felt we could not have as governor of West Virginia,” he explained. “Had Gov. Justice been running against Ben Salango, we would have endorsed Ben Salango because we would have felt as we do now that Ben Salango will make a better governor than the current governor that we have.”


Justice and his family owns multiple coal companies, which owe money for environmental and safety violations.

Salango said he was humbled to receive the union’s endorsement.