United Mine Workers of America

Washington DC area (Triangle), VA

This is the 2020 fellowship description for this mentor organization.

The United Mine Workers of America has a long tradition of aggressive leadership in the struggle for workers' rights. We are responsible for creating a significant portion of existing labor law, both through litigation and legislation.We take credit for implementation of the 8-hour day in 1898, collective bargaining rights in 1933, health and retirement benefits in 1946 and mine safety and health protections in 1969, 1977 and 2006. While the core of our membership has long been coal miners throughout the United States and Canada, membership is growing in other industries, including clean coal technologies, health care and the public sector. 

The Legal Department consists of four attorneys, three of whom work in the Headquarters Office and one of whom works in Charleston, WV. Our legal work regularly includes organizing, negotiations, contract enforcement, plant closings, safety and health law, and internal union affairs. In addition to providing legal advice and helping with the creation and implementation of Union policies, UMWA attorneys engage in a large quantity of litigation in state and federal courts, as well as before state and federal administrative agencies. We work closely with all of the UMWA departments, and our Fellows share the same broad exposure and experience.

The Peggy Browning Fellow will gain substantial research and writing experience, working with staff attorneys to support the UMWA and our membership. He or she will have the chance to work with each of the in-house lawyers, thereby learning different substantive areas of the law and experiencing diverse lawyering styles. Experienced UMWA lawyers are always available to provide guidance and supervision when needed. The Fellow can expect to prepare a variety of written materials, including some that can be used as writing samples for later job applications.

Our Fellows have significant responsibility. For example, one recent Fellow wrote half of an NLRB representation brief, while another drafted part of a federal appeals-court brief, and another was responsible for briefing an administrative safety and health case, among many other projects. Aside from the more traditional legal work, recent Fellows also have had the opportunity to attend meetings of the Union's International Executive Board, participate in contract negotiations, assist with a rally of miners on Capitol Hill, help with a Congressional hearing, observe a deposition, attend the district court argument in a case the Fellow helped to brief, and meet with the Union President and a high-level representative of the U.S. Department of Labor. While these possibilities change each year according to the Union's specific work, every summer seems to offer our Fellows at least some unconventional work tasks and opportunities.

The UMWA relies on its legal staff to further the Union's mission as a progressive force for change. We give our Fellows great legal experience, with exposure to a variety of subjects and tasks. Like staff lawyers, Fellows have been very satisfied with their work experiences at the UMWA, and we are committed to continuing this tradition. In fact, the UMWA was highlighted in America's Greatest Places To Work With A Law Degree.

In addition to the basic application requirements (cover letter, application form, essays, resume), applicants for this fellowship must also include two legal writing samples. Applicants must be able to supply their own tansportation to the UMWA's Triangle, VA office, located approximately 30 miles south of Washington, DC.

The stipend for this fellowship will be at least $20/hour. Students typically work 37 hours/week.

Address cover letter to:

Laura Karr, Esq.
Staff Attorney
United Mine Workers of America
18354 Quantico Gateway Drive, Suite 200
Triangle, VA 22172