The United Mine Workers of America organization says that coal miners are dying while politicians are squabbling and the government is partially closed.
Last week was the first time since 2002 the industry had three deaths in three days - in West Virginia, Illinois and Wyoming.
Cecil Roberts is the president of the United Mine Workers. He says the West Virginia supervisor was a former union member, and the union is participating in the investigation. It's too soon to draw conclusions, he said, but he calls the timing of the incidents extremely troubling.
Joe Main used the same words on Monday. He's the director of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. He said less than half his staff is working, and inspections are largely focused on mines with a documented history of problems.
The president of the mine workers organization says regular inspections aren't being conducted because the government's watchdog isn't watching. The report comes in this morning from The Associated Press.