Cecil Edward Roberts, Jr., a sixth-generation coal miner and one of the labor movement’s most stirring and sought-after orators, became President of the United Mine Workers (UMWA) of America on October 22, 1995, having served as Vice President of the union since December 1982. Roberts succeeded Richard L. Trumka, who was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO.
Growing up in a UMWA household on Cabin Creek in Kanawha County, WV, Roberts heard the stories of his family, including a great-uncle, Bill Blizzard, who was a legendary organizer during the West Virginia mine wars of the 1920’s and a UMWA District President under John L. Lewis. Both of Roberts’ grandfathers were killed in the mines.
In July of 2001 he became a member of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council. He serves as Chair of the Energy Committee, and serves or has served on the Civil and Human Rights Committee, Labor and the Environment Committee, Manufacturing and Industrial Committee, Safety and Occupational Health Committee, Senior Action Committee, Strategic Approaches Committee, Political Education Committee, and Article XX Appeals Committee. In October of 2005, he was appointed to the Executive Committee of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council.
In 2017 President Roberts secured the healthcare for 22,600 retirees and their families, and continues to fight for the hard-earned pensions our nation’s miners deserve. Roberts is married to the former Carolyn Stewart. They have a son, Kyle, a daughter, Melissa, three grandsons, Aaron, Brandon, and Ki, two granddaughters, Savannah and Kathryn and a great grandson August.