Union Busting Kills Miners

The New York Times:

The Kentucky mine where five men were killed in an explosion on Saturday had been cited at least 41 times in the last five years for failing to clean up coal dust properly, which can lead to explosions, according to federal records.

State officials and mining experts said the reach of the blast, which was felt more than 5,000 feet from its estimated point of origin, seemed to indicate that coal dust was a major factor.

Federal regulators had cited Kentucky Darby LLC, the operator of the mine, three times this month, and at least 38 other times since 2001, for not cleaning up coal dust and other combustible materials, according to federal records. While federal investigators continued to study the cause of the explosion at the mine, relatives of the miners voiced frustration over a report that the miners' air packs had not worked.
My family came from Wales, which produced the coal that made England's industrial revolution world wide empire possible. My great grandfather, who I was lucky enough to meet, left the mines of Wales for a better life in America, not wanting his sons to only see the light of day one day a week. He came to Pennsylvania and began work in American mines. When he had saved some money he sent for his wife and children. My Great Grandmother wrote back that she wouldn't come if he was working in mines. He got a job in a steel mill. The Unions made sure that he was relatively safe and well paid. I am where I am today, with a profession and a college degree, because of Unions.

That's why I think that it's a travesty that the New York Times wouldn't tell me if the mine in Kentucky was Unionized. I had to go all the way to the Google cache from the Charleston, West Virginia Gazette-Mail to find out that it wasn't.

Union Busting Kills Miners

The explosion was caused by coal dust that, by government regulation, should have been contained. The rescue breathers that were supposed to provide an hour of clean air provided only 5 minutes.

These are the reasons that Unions are necessary. This was not some isolated incident. 41 safety violations? With no advocate, the miners were at the mercy of Kentucky Darby LLC. Look where it got them. Republicanism, with it's abhorrence of organized labor, kills workers.

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