Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

'Normal' is killing us.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal.” Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

Coal miner Jaden Fredrickson of Cheat Lake, West Virginia at the Harvey Mine on April 13, 2017 in Sycamore, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

'If These Miners Were Bankers, Congress Would Have Bailed Them Out Already,' Says Sanders as Bankrupt Murray Coal Threatens Pensions

"My Green New Deal will protect the pensions workers were promised and provide a just transition for all fossil fuel workers."

Jake Johnson, staff writer

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday emphasized the need for a Green New Deal that guarantees "a just transition for all fossil fuel workers" after coal mining giant Murray Energy filed for bankruptcy this week—potentially imperiling the jobs, pensions, and healthcare benefits of tens of thousands of miners.

"If these miners were bankers, Congress would have bailed them out already," said Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "My Green New Deal will protect the pensions workers were promised."

"We have seen this sad act too many times before. But that does not mean we will sit idly by and let the company and the court dictate what happens to our members and our retirees."
—Cecil Roberts, United Mine Workers of America

Sanders' Green New Deal plan, released in August as part of his presidential campaign platform, stresses the importance of ensuring financial security for any fossil fuel workers displaced by the transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

"This plan will prioritize the fossil fuel workers who have powered our economy for more than a century and who have too often been neglected by corporations and politicians," Sanders' proposal states. "We will guarantee five years of a worker's current salary, housing assistance, job training, healthcare, pension support, and priority job placement for any displaced worker, as well as early retirement support for those who choose it or can no longer work."

Murray Energy, the largest private coal company in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections Tuesday morning. Robert Murray, the company's founder and a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, agreed to relinquish his role as CEO and president but will remain chairman.

In addition to threatening the jobs of around 7,000 current Murray Energy employees, the company's bankruptcy filing could also spell disaster for tens of thousands of retired miners.

"Murray Energy is the last major company contributing to the pension plan of the United Mine Workers of America," CNN reported. "The pension plan's depleted funding will only get worse if Murray Energy is relieved of its pension requirements."

Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers, predicted in a statement that Murray Energy will attempt in bankruptcy proceedings to shed "its obligations to retirees, their dependents, and widows."

"We have seen this sad act too many times before," said Roberts. "But that does not mean we will sit idly by and let the company and the court dictate what happens to our members and our retirees."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Support progressive journalism.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

US and Israel Vote 'No' as 184 Nations Condemn American Blockade of Cuba

"The U.N. vote... on Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership," said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. "He failed miserably."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


With Planet's Future at Stake, Biden Told to Be Bold With Pick for Top Energy Post

"It's time to treat climate change like the emergency it is, and stop approving new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, reads a letter signed by over 300 climate-focused groups.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


SCOTUS Solidifies Students' Free Speech Protections, Upholding Right to Say 'F**k Cheer'

"The message from this ruling is clear—free speech is for everyone, and that includes public school students."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Rules Union Organizing on Farms Violates Landowners' Rights

The Supreme Court "fails to balance a farmer's property rights with a farm worker's human rights," said United Farm Workers of America.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


Lawmakers Tell Biden US Has 'Moral Obligation' to Ban Landmines

"If the United States takes these steps it will be welcomed around the world."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·