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Dave Lauriski
Assistant Secretary of Labor for MSHA
Signing Agreement with International Union of Operating Engineers
Bal Harbour, Florida
January 20, 2004

Thank you, President Hanley, for the kind introduction. And I would also like to recognize Secretary Tom Ridge and other special guests for joining us today.

The alliance we are entering in today goes beyond training and education-it is a commitment to the American people that we will be prepared. Prepared to respond and keep people from harm's way-whether from job-related accidents or acts of terrorism.

What makes today's signing so special, is that it is MSHA's first formal alliance agreement with a labor organization. But this should come as no surprise as the relationship between MSHA and the IUOE has always been strong: Both MSHA and the IUOE are models of accident response-as shown by the quick, efficient and extremely effective rescue and recovery work at the World Trade Center and Quecreek. As a result of intensive training and education, no workers lost their lives at the World Trade Center site, and all the miners were successfully rescued at the Quecreek mine.

The formal alliance we are entering into today builds upon our respective knowledge and training. The end result will be one team ready and able to respond to any number of different hazardous situations-committed to both national security and mine safety and health.

Together-shoulder to shoulder-we will use our collective expertise to help foster a culture of prevention and preparedness.

More specifically, we will jointly develop training and educational programs'share best practices and effective approaches'collaborate on outreach and communications projects'and further integrate the courses and curriculum of MSHA's National Mine Health and Safety Academy, and the IUOE's International Environment Technology and Homeland Security Training Program at the Center.

The alliance agreement we are signing is truly a win-win situation for all of us-from heavy equipment operators to construction workers to mine workers to MSHA employees.

Together, we can make a major difference in the safety, security and health of all working Americans.

Today is a great day for all of us. And I know the entire MSHA team looks forward to working even more closely with IUOE members across the country.

Three is much to celebrate. And even more to do!

Thank youAnd may God Bless America.

   - See Press Release