President Barack Obama, flanked by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joe Main, speaks about mine safety, Thursday, April 15, 2010, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Anybody who knows Joe Main knows that he’s hurting right now for the families of the men who died in the horrible explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine two weeks ago. Joe is probably angry, too. But if nothing else, it sure sounds like President Obama is on board with giving Joe Main and his boss, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the room to make some changes at MSHA …
One thing that I didn’t realize or I guess had missed is that, though he was confirmed by the Senate back in October, Joe Main hasn’t had a formal swearing in ceremony yet. Well, I’m told now that the swearing in is set for this Friday. It will also include the swearing in of OSHA chief David Michaels and several other top Labor Department appointees under Secretary Solis.
Last week, Joe sent out a note to some of the folks invited to the event, which was planned before the disaster. In it, he makes clear what will be on his mind when he takes the formal oath:
In light of last week’s events in Montcoal, West Virginia, the significance of the Agency’s mission is more apparent than ever … As we mourn the 29 miners who lost their lives in last week’s tragedy, we must find the strength and perseverance to renew our focus on making sure that this never happens again.