coal miners

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This year’s Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence at Shepherd University is Karen Spears Zacharias. Zacharias grew up in a military family but spent most of her childhood in the hills of Appalachia. During the Vietnam War, her father was killed in action, and his death left a major impact on Zacharias’ life and the lives of her mother and siblings. In this episode of West Virginia Morning, we'll hear an interview with Zacharias about how writing and faith helped her through the struggles of her youth.


August 24, 1921: Miners March to Protest Martial Law in Mingo County

Aug 24, 2018
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV State Archives (WVSA), Coal Life Collection

On August 24, 1921, a group of armed miners started out on a long march southeast from Marmet near Charleston.

Their goal was to end the governor’s order of martial law in Mingo County and to wipe out the anti-union mine guard and deputy sheriff systems in Logan and Mingo counties.

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators have introduced a provision that aims to boost participation in black lung detection programs.

Virginia Democrat Sen. Mark Warner introduced the amendment Wednesday into the defense, labor, health and education spending package that is being debated on the Senate floor.

If passed, the provision would require the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or NIOSH to create a report for Congress within 180 days detailing how to increase participation in black lung screening programs.

One in five working coal miners in central Appalachia who have worked at least 25 years now suffer from the coal miners' disease black lung. That's the finding from the latest study tracking an epidemic of the incurable and fatal sickness.

Rural medical clinics that are struggling to respond to an epidemic of a fatal lung disease plaguing coal miners received a 40 percent boost in federal funding with the passage of the omnibus spending bill last week.

January 12, 1880: W.Va. National Guard Puts Down the First Coal Strike

Jan 12, 2018
Photo of coal miners in West Virginia, 1908
Wikimedia commons

On January 12, 1880, West Virginia National Guard troops arrived at Hawks Nest in Fayette County to put down one of the state’s first coal strikes. The strike started at Montgomery when coal operators told their union miners that nonunion competition from the nearby Hawks Nest mines was hurting business.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

We end our weeklong look at our best stories from 2017, where we stepped into the archives to retell some of our favorite stories from last year.

This morning, we hear from reporters Kara Lofton and Glynis Board.

August 24, 1921: Miners March to Protest Martial Law in Mingo County

Aug 24, 2017
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV State Archives (WVSA), Coal Life Collection

On August 24, 1921, a group of armed miners started out on a long march southeast from Marmet near Charleston.

Their goal was to end the governor’s order of martial law in Mingo County and to wipe out the anti-union mine guard and deputy sheriff systems in Logan and Mingo counties.

Federal mine safety officials are warning mine operators about several on-the-job deaths this year of miners who were working alone.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration says five miners have died while working alone since the year began. Two of those deaths occurred in coal mines, and the others were at non-metal mines.

http://www.historicmatewan.com/history

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin held a packed town hall for miners in Matewan today, assuring attendees that he would fight for health benefits and pensions at risk of running out of money by the end of April.

Union miners who put in 20 or more years were promised lifelong health benefits and pensions decades ago. But as coal companies have gone into bankruptcy, they've sought to shed liabilities, including paying into the pension and benefit funds.

Betting on Trump: Coal

Feb 16, 2017

Many coal miners saw the election of Donald Trump as a moment of hope; what can he actually do to bring back coal jobs?

The Branham Family
Benny Becker / Ohio Valley ReSource

At the age of 38, a coal miner named Mackie Branham Jr. was diagnosed with progressive massive fibrosis, a debilitating and terminal form of an illness that was supposed to be a disease of the past — black lung. But Branham is among many the miners afflicted by a resurgence in the disease, and officials are just beginning to realize the scope of the problem. A review of health clinic records shows roughly a thousand such cases, many times more than federal officials had thought existed.

Congressman Ken Hechler paid to bring hundreds of miners and the widows of the Farmington miners to protest at the nation’s capitol.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

Longtime West Virginia Congressman, Secretary of State, and World War II veteran, Ken Hechler has died at the age of 102. He was known nationwide for his work in improving coal mine health and safety, among many other accomplishments.

Senate Democrats dropped their objections Friday night to a short-term-funding bill to keep the government running, and the bill passed less than an hour before the midnight deadline.

It's become a familiar year-end act for Congress: passing a short-term-funding bill that will keep the government running for a few more months. This funding measure, which passed 63-36, runs out in April.

Without congressional intervention, about 16,000 retired miners in seven states will lose their health care coverage by the end of the year.

A proposal to temporarily extend the benefits is working its way through Congress. But two Senate Democrats, who are advocates for a more comprehensive plan, say the temporary provision isn't enough.

They are threatening to hold up a spending bill that needs to pass by Friday night to keep the government running.

Coal Layoffs, unemployed
Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin joined environmental officials Friday morning to award a $1 million grant that will benefit workers affected by layoffs in three coal counties.

Tomblin announced the award Friday at the Ralph R. Willis Career and Technical Center, in Logan. He says the grant will support stream clean-up efforts in Boone, Logan, and Mingo counties.

Lance Booth

In this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear about what it’s like to actually work in a coal mine. So often we hear about miners from environmentalists or people who proudly declare they are Friends of Coal. But so much about what we hear about coal mining these days is full of political agendas.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Thousands of retired coal miners are gathering at the U.S. Capitol to support a bill that would preserve their health and pension benefits.

The United Mine Workers of America says its members and supporters from 13 states, including West Virginia, will rally in Washington today.

Fotolia DollarPhoto Club

West Virginia officials say a coal miner has died from injuries during an accident last week.

The state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says Donald Workman died Thursday evening of injuries sustained in a July 29 accident at Road Fork #51 Spartan Mine in Pineville.

AllVoices.com

West Virginia officials are investigating the death of a coal miner.

State Department of Commerce spokeswoman Leslie Smithson says preliminary information suggests the miner at the Leer Mine in Grafton may have suffered a medical condition. She says a full investigation is under way by the state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training.

Malcolm Wilson/ Humans of Central Appalachia

Our roots with coal run deep here in central Appalachia. But the future for the people in the Appalachian coalfields is unclear.  Although coal will likely still continue to be mined, it doesn’t seem like jobs in this industry will ever come back, not like they once were. People in the coalfields are worried. Jobs are disappearing -- and there isn’t a lot of hope right now.

AllVoices.com

Bankrupt coal producer Alpha Natural Resources has announced planned layoffs in West Virginia for the third time in a month.

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

The second phase of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administrations landmark rule that’s meant to prevent black lung disease, took effect this month. Among other requirements for companies, coal miners basically will be required to wear personal dust monitors.

Cliffs Natural Resources has cut its workforce in half at two coal mines in Alabama and West Virginia.

Both the Oak Grove Mine in Alabama and the Pinnacle Mine in West Virginia produce metallurgical coal, which is used for steel production.

Daniel Walker/WVPB

Have you ever heard of a pepperoni roll? If you haven’t, then you’re not from West Virginia.

Alpha Natural Resources

Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources Inc. has told 292 workers in Virginia and Kentucky they are losing their jobs.

AllVoices.com

Members of the U.S. Senate will soon consider a bill that could affect the pension and healthcare benefits of nearly 28 thousand retired West Virginia coal miners.

Authorities say a coal miner was killed over the weekend in an accident at a mine in southwestern Pennsylvania.

At approximately 12:15 AM on June 28, 2015, John William “Bill” Kelly, 55 years old, of Albright, West Virginia a long-term employee of Mepco, LLC, was fatally injured. According to a release from Mepco, Kelly died in an accident at the Company’s 4 West Mine located near Mount Morris, Pennsylvania. In the release, Mepco also released this statement:

The Front Porch Podcast
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Increasingly, working class men in Appalachia can't find work.

Central Appalachia has seen thousands of layoffs in the coal industry this decade. More and more, women are the main breadwinners.

Data by SNL Energy / Data Visualizations by Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The following data and article is the result of collaboration between West Virginia Public Broadcasting and SNL Energy. To see related stories from SNL Energy on this topic, please click here. 

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