Archive

You are viewing the "Miners" Archives

In this June 6, 2011 photo, this historical marker along W.Va. Route 17 in Blair, W.Va., is the only visible sign of the 1921 battle here between thousands of armed, unionizing coal miners and the thousands of law enforcement officers and security guards hired to defeat them. At least 16 men died on the mountain

On Labor Day, Miners Mark Historic Union March

By:
Posted on:

Ninety-eight years ago, thousands of pro-union miners marched toward West Virginia’s Logan County, to protest abuses by coal operators in what was then a largely anti-union territory. The marchers were met at Blair Mountain in Logan County by an army of men, fighting on behalf of anti-union mine guards and local law enforcement. The battle… Read More

U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration David Zatezalo

Mines That Change Owners Have Worse Safety Record, Audit Finds

By:
Posted on:

A new federal government report shows that mines that changed ownership had worse safety records than mines where ownership did not change. According to an audit from the Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General, mines that changed ownership during a 17-year period were nearly twice as likely to have safety violations, and five times as likely to report severe accidents… Read More

“Bloody Harlan” Revisited: Blackjewel Miners Draw On Labor History While Facing Uncertain Future

By:
Posted on:

Curtis Cress sat in the gravel beside a railroad track in Harlan County, Kentucky. Tall and thin with a long, black beard, Cress is every bit a coal miner, or, he was until a month ago. “It’s part of my heritage, you know? My dad and papaws had always done it,” he said. “And I’m… Read More

Few Answers For Unpaid Miners After Day One of Blackjewel Sales Hearing

By:
Posted on:

Blackjewel coal miners will have to wait at least another day to learn if the sale of the bankrupt coal company’s mines and equipment will deliver their overdue paychecks. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia recessed Monday after an all-day hearing that yielded few results. The court is scheduled to… Read More

Blackjewel Miners Continue Protest As Bankruptcy Hearing Looms

By:
Posted on:

Miners left unpaid by the bankrupt Blackjewel coal company say they are prepared to keep up their protest on railroad tracks in Harlan County, Kentucky, where they are blocking delivery of a load of coal. As their protest grows and gains attention, a bankruptcy court hearing on Monday could determine whether and when the miners… Read More

Protesting miners blocked the tracks in the morning fog.

Blackjewel Miners Block Railroad To Demand Pay From Bankrupt Coal Company

By:
Posted on:

Some coal miners left without pay by the bankruptcy of coal company Blackjewel LLC are protesting by blocking a coal train in eastern Kentucky. The stand-off began early Monday when five miners blocked the train from leaving the Cumberland, Kentucky, plant. Despite police asking them to leave, miners spent the night blocking the railroad to… Read More

Coal Miners Back in Washington Fighting for Benefits

By:
Posted on:

United Mine Workers and supporters were on Capitol Hill Wednesday in an effort to shore up their pension and health benefits. More than 43,000 coal miners in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are growing anxious about losing their retirement benefits. The coal miner’s union says its pension fund will be insolvent in three years if Congress doesn’t… Read More

Piles of coal

As Disabled Miners Hit D.C., Lawmakers Introduce Bills To Fund Black Lung Benefits

By:
Posted on:

Democratic members of Congress introduced legislation Tuesday to provide additional funding for coal miners suffering from black lung. The bills came as a contingent of Appalachian miners afflicted with the disease lobbied lawmakers for more support. “It doesn’t only take your health. It takes your identity,” Barry Johnson said of the disease. Johnson is a… Read More

Laid-Off Employees Of Bankrupt Blackjewel Mining Seek Pay, Answers

By:
Posted on:

Patrick Fitchpatrick has worked at Blackjewel’s D-11 coal mine in Cumberland, Kentucky, for more than a year. He said he enjoyed the work right up until he was told not to come in last Monday. “Everything was smooth sailing and then one day it just all goes to hell,” he said. The country’s sixth-largest coal… Read More

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin with miners on Capitol Hill.

Retired Miners Make One More Push For Pension Protection On Capitol Hill

By:
Posted on:

Retired coal miners joined lawmakers from the Ohio Valley on Capitol Hill Wednesday for another attempt to protect miners’ pensions. Pensions are at risk because of a downturn in the coal market, the lingering effects of the 2008 recession, and coal company bankruptcies which have all reduced the amounts companies paid into a shared, or multiemployer, pension… Read More

Retired Miners Rally Over Pensions in Washington

By:
Posted on:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Dozens of retired coal miners visited lawmakers in Washington to call for legislative action to preserve the pensions of about 87,000 retirees and another 20,000 working miners. United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts says the 2008 recession and mining company bankruptcies have endangered the miner’s pension plan, established in… Read More

Remembering A Coal Miner Who Stood Up For Those With Black Lung

By:
Posted on:

Robert Bailey started mining coal in southern West Virginia’s McDowell County in the 1970s. By the time he retired from the Patriot Coal Company 36 years later he was already having trouble breathing. By the time I first interviewed Bailey in 2014, his black lung disease had become severe. “I’m in the process of a lung transplant,” he… Read More

An X-ray image of an Appalachian coal miner with black lung lesions.

Federal Prosecutor Adds Charges In Kentucky Coal Dust Fraud Case

By:
Posted on:

A federal prosecutor announced new charges against a senior coal company official for conspiring to falsify the required monitoring of coal dust. The case comes amid a surge in cases of black lung disease and widespread allegations from miners that cheating on dust monitors is common in the mining industry. Western Kentucky District U.S. Attorney… Read More

Coal Comeback? Coal At New Low After Two Years Under Trump

By:
Posted on:

It’s been two years since President Donald Trump took office and began rolling back environmental regulations on the coal industry. At a November rally in Huntington, West Virginia, the president took credit for a coal comeback in front of a cheering crowd. “We’ve ended the war on beautiful, clean coal and we’re putting our coal… Read More

Retired miners begin a meeting with the pledge of allegiance.

Ohio Valley Senators Again Aim to Shore Up Shaky Pension Plan For Coal Miners

By:
Posted on:

Following a failed attempt to address a looming crisis in many multi-employer pension programs, two Ohio Valley lawmakers have introduced a bill in Congress to shore up the shaky pension plan for coal miners. The bill also aims to protect health benefits and restore funding for the federal trust fund providing benefits for thousands of… Read More

Three Miners Dead In Eleven Days: Grim December Caps Year In Coal Mine Safety

By:
Posted on:

Just a few months ago, the U.S. coal mining industry was on track for its safest year in history. But in an eleven-day span in late December, three miners died after separate incidents, bringing the total number of fatalities in 2018 to 12, even as coal mining employment continued its decline. “It is a reminder… Read More

Black Lung, Red Ink: Residents Press McConnell As Deadline Looms For Black Lung Fund

By:
Posted on:

On a cool but clear November day about a dozen residents from eastern Kentucky’s coal mining region crowded into the lobby of an office building in the small town of London, Kentucky. That’s where Kentucky’s powerful senior senator, Mitch McConnell, has his local field office. McConnell’s staff let the local advocates for black lung treatment… Read More

GOP Tax Bill Would Extend Endangered Funding for Disabled Miners

By:
Posted on:

As Appalachian coal miners suffer from a historic surge in black lung disease, a federal trust fund that supports some of those miners has been scheduled to lose a significant portion of its funding. A new tax bill in Congress includes a provision to extend the coal excise tax that supports the trust fund. With… Read More

Miners’ Pensions A Major Part Of Spending Debate

By:
Posted on:

Retired union coal miners are joining teamsters, iron workers and other union retirees in an effort to shore up their ailing pension plans, and they hope the ticking clock on a government spending bill will help. Some Democrats want to see protections for retirement benefits included in the omnibus spending bill, which Congress must pass… Read More