SALT LAKE CITY (CN) – The United Mine Workers of America seeks a federal restraining order to stop Energy West Mining from enforcing a tobacco-free workplace policy. About 100 of the mine’s workers want to use snuff, dip or chew, aka “smokeless tobacco.”
The policy, announced in January, took effect July 1.
About 100 of the 276 mine workers at Energy West’s Deer Creek Mine near Huntington, use smokeless tobacco, according to the complaint.
U.S. coal mines have been smoke-free for more than 50 years because of the dangers of explosions of methane gas. Utah plants have been smoke-free since passage of the Utah Clean Air Act in 1995 – but miners have been able to use smokeless tobacco.
The union calls the policy “unreasonable” because it prohibits use of chewing tobacco anywhere on company property. Miners cannot leave company property during breaks. Violators face disciplinary action under the new policy.
An arbitration is set for July 29.