A visit by U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis with workers of Patriot Coal’s Federal No. 2 mine near Morgantown, W.Va., apparently made a lasting impression on the labor chief who told the media the visit left her in awe. “I wanted to see for myself how these men and women who toil below the earth’s surface go about their daily work,” Solis said of the August visit. “What I learned is that modern mining is a complex and technologically advanced process, staffed by some of the hardest working and most professional individuals in the world. It also opened my eyes to what our inspectors go through at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. The experience was more than educational, it was inspiring.”

The secretary was accompanied on the underground visit by Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., Cecil Roberts, president, United Mine Workers of America, and Blair McGill, general manager, Federal No. 2 mine.

“It was evident that management and labor can work together to ensure that workers are safe, earn a good wage, and can be proud that their work is contributing to meeting our nation’s diverse energy needs,” said Solis.